Transference and Presence of the Analyst (2), by Frank Rollier

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

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 success.  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?

2- Co-presence in the flesh is necessary

Can a praxis, based on transference, be operative when the real presence of the body is excluded?

In his last teaching, Lacan emphasises lalangue, which imprints its mark of jouissance on the body of the speaking-being (parlêtre). The interpretation of the analyst who, by his presence, aims to embody the object a, can occur with his body, to the extent of risking a “body event, a semblant of trauma” in order to touch the jouissance.

J.-A. Miller argues that “bringing one’s body to the session” means “experiencing oneself as a body parasitized by speech”, but that “seeing and talking to each other does not make an analytic session. (…) The co-presence in the flesh is necessary, if only to bring out the non-sexual relation”, this real that the parlêtre is constantly confronted with. He adds that “all modes of virtual presence, even the most sophisticated, will come up against” this, namely “the non-sense of the sexual relation”, cause of the flaw that affects the parlêtre.

Sessions via Skype can only be considered if “the circumstances do not allow otherwise”, proposes Éric Laurent, and only exceptionally as a complement to sessions where the bodies are present. Otherwise, their absence is a symptom of not wanting to know what is missing, and becomes itself a symptom of the refusal of the impossible. The obscurantism that Lacan denounced in 1964 as “very characteristic of the condition of man in our times of supposed information” has lost nothing of its relevance.

The real presence of the analyst, which is the enactment of his desire, remains more than ever an ethical and political issue.

  1. Guyonnet, D., « La skype analyse en Chine…». CDD N° 97, p. 26.
  2. Lacan, J., The Seminar: The Sinthome, Polity, Cambridge, 2016, p. 52.
  3. Laurent É., “Sur l’envers de la biopolitique”, Quarto 115-116, p. 16.
  4. Miller, J.-A., “Le divan, XXI° siècle…”. Libération, 03.07.1999.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Lacan, J., Television, A Challenge to the Psychoanalytic Establishment, Norton, New York/London, 1990, p. 8.
  7. Laurent É., “Jouir d’internet”, CDD No. 97, p. 18.
  8. Guyonnet, D., “La skype analyse en Chine” op. cit., p. 29.
  9. Lacan J., Seminar XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, Norton, New York/London, 1981, p. 127.