The Art of Handling by Patrick Monribot


How does the use of transference in psychoanalysis differ from that which is in play in psychotherapies?

The answer is entirely on the side of the analyst. Everything depends upon how he/she will handle it, a handling that is closely related to the desire of the analyst – the compass for analytical practices, which is constantly reinvigorated by supervision. The stakes are important: to allow, for the analysand, the passage from the transferential unconscious to the real unconscious. In short, how does one pass from the analysis of the Freudian Unbewust to that of the Lacanian l’Une-bévue?   

This turnaround is in no way spontaneous. It never takes place during a simple practice of listening, however technical it may be. In the cure, one of the key moments of this turn is obtained by the mode of presence of the analyst as much as by the answers in acts with which he or she confronts the complaints and requests of the analysand. This handling counteracts the transferential slope (whether harmonious or discordant), a slope to which the analysand systematically invites the analyst. Far from any harmony, it is a question of obtaining and maintaining a maximum gap between the ideals (I) that animate the analysand – reciprocal love is one of them – and the drive object (a) which disturbs and divides the analysand as a sexual reality of the unconscious. To this end, the analyst will attempt, often without words, to incarnate and impose this object that the analysand refuses to take into account.

This is what the perspective of handling the transference must be. While Jacques-Alain Miller once spoke about the performance of the analysand in the Pass, here it is about the performance of the analyst: it is an art. Hence, the sometimes theatrical aspect of the transference, at the expense of the analyst. The AS testify to such stagings, often funny, which give spice to the stories of the cures.  

The dry ethics of psychoanalysis, and its therapeutic results, thus triumph over a comfortable psychotherapeutic temptation that is as humanistic as it is inefficient.

Translated by Joanne Conway