The Heart of the Matter by Lynn Gaillard


“Often people call an analyst because of specific difficulties in their life. They do not necessarily have transference towards psychoanalysis or want to enter analysis. They want to quickly solve a problem or find again the symptomatic equilibrium they have lost. Authoritarian therapies offering a quick fix have the wind in their sails. What we offer as psychoanalysts is very different. This difference has much to do with the intimacy of transference.

More disturbing, in many places, particularly where there is clinical practice, psychoanalysis is no longer part of the social discourse. It is as if it has been photo shopped out. In light of the disappearance of psychoanalysis from many places in society, psychoanalytic schools become the enclave where psychoanalysis can be discussed.  Within the NLS, there is a proliferation of seminars about transference in preparation for the Congress. Often a member of the School is invited to give a seminar in another country. There is an international conversation about transference. I will try to contribute to this work-in-progress of a School of psychoanalysis.

As Lacan developed in the Seminar XI, transference is one of the four fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis, along with the unconscious, repetition and the drive. Transference is the motor of an analysis, and yet, as we will see, it is an obstacle.Paradox, enigma, mystery, problem, phenomenon, springboard (ressort) are signifiers used by Lacan “to grapple with this most opaque term, this core of our experience: transference”.

To sustain a position of transference is a great responsibility. When an analyst decides to take someone in analysis, s/he enters into uncharted territory. Lacan asks the question in Seminar VIII, Transference, “what are we going to be able to do… in order to better discern certain effects that are based on the fact that, as analysts, we enter in the subject’s fate and become involved in it.”

An analyst must remain humble. In the first sentence of the Seminar VIII, Lacan refers to the subjective disparity of the analytic experience. He uses the English word “’odd’ to qualify the essentially uneven nature of transference.” It is the analysand who creates the transfe

rence. The analyst consents to accept the singularity of the analysand and to orient his interpretations and acts on what the analysand brings to the analysis.

A further cause for humility: each analysis is a new experience, which cannot be fully grasped by theory or past experience. The analyst can never be guaranteed in her or his act. That the analyst can tolerate this position comes from her or his own analysis.”

Excerpt from the guest presentation by Lynn Gaillard at the ICLO-NLS 6th Study-Day “Transference. In and Out” held in Dublin on June 2nd 2018.