Transference and Presence of the Analyst (1), by Frank Rollier

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The Internet offers a wealth of therapies at a distance – online chat, virtual reality, psy-robot and in China, psychoanalysis by Skype is a great success1. If psychotherapy is riveted to meaning and can accept listening at a distance, which does not exclude the possible effects of transference, what about psychoanalysis, which aims to open up the unconscious?

1- The presence of the analyst is an expression of the unconscious.

For Freud, the cure cannot take place “in absentia or in effigy”.2 From his first seminar, Lacan testifies that, in certain cases, “just when he seems ready to come out with something more authentic (… )than he has ever managed to come up with up to then, the subject (…)breaks off” as if to say, “I am aware all of a sudden of the fact of your presence”3. Transference is shown by “the actualisation of the analyst’s person”,4 the perception of his presence that Lacan notes is a feeling that is part mystery.5

In The Transference, Lacan insists on the “real presence” and silent presence, of the analyst, who ultimately is there only as “that (…) which is silent, and which is silent in that it lacks being”.6

In Seminar XI, Lacan links this presence not to a specific virtue of the analyst, but to the irruption of the object of jouissance in the transference, which is the “means (…) by which the unconscious closes up again”.7 The object a has the role of a shutter, such as “the beauty behind the shutters”8 and it can lend itself to interpretation. The presence of this split analyst is itself an expression of the unconscious that allows for “the awareness of this split in the subject”9 to be carried out. However, as Lacan notes, concerning the preliminary interviews, there is a “confrontation with the body”10.

(To be continued…)

  1. Guyonnet, D., La skype analyse en Chine…, CDD N° 97, p. 26.
  2. Freud, S., La technique analytique, PUF, Paris, 1981, p. 60.
  3. Lacan, J., Seminar I : Freud’s Papers on Technique, Norton, New York/London, 1991, p. 40.
  4. Ibid., p. 42.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Lacan J., Seminar VIII : Transference, Polity, Cambridge, 2015, p. 265.
  7. Lacan J, Seminar XI : The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, Norton, New York/London, 1998, p. 130.
  8. Ibid., p. 134.
  9. Ibid., p. 131.
  10. Lacan, J, Le Séminaire, livre XIX, …ou pire, Seuil, Paris, p. 228.