Confessions from the Couch
104 Pages

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Confessions from the Couch


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Learn more
104 Pages

You can change the print size of this book


The unconscious? The Oedipus complex? The castration complex? Neurosis ? The objet a ? What are they? And what does one say to an analyst? What happens during an analysis? For those asking questions about psychoanalysis, Confessions from the Couch gives clear and simple answers. The principal psychoanalytical notions, both Freudian and Lacanian, are explained and illustrated with chosen extracts from actual analytical sessions. (Traduction en anglais de Dits de divan, Notions de psychanalyse illustrées d'extraits de séances).



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Published 15 April 2015
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EAN13 9782336375878
Language English

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Valérie BLANCO

Confessions from the Couch

Psychoanalytical notions illustrated
with extracts from sessions

Translated by Jane Hodgson-McCrohan

Confessions from the Couch
Psychoanalyt ical notions
illustrated with extracts from sessions


Confessions from the Couch

Psychoanalytical notions
illustrated with extracts from sessions




Psychoanalysis has been a source of fascination, intrigue
and worry for more than 100 years. It has rarely been treated
with indifference.
In the practice of psychoanalysis, you often find yourself
replying to questions about it from patients, family, friends
and acquaintances.
These questions push you to explain simply, in just a few
sentences, notions that are often very complex. They push
you to give your own interpretations of these notions.
This book takes up the challenge of simplification.
As with all popularisation and interpretation, there is an
inherent but recognised risk of weakening or distorting the
original concepts. But it might offer a first opening to
psychoanalysis to those who perhaps have neither the time
nor the inclination to plunge into the works of great
psychoanalysts like Freud and Lacan.
This book intends to give a first taste, and as such to
whet the appetite and to stimulate the curiosity of the reader.
Let us hope that this introduction to a few basic notions will
encourage the reader to take his investigations further.
This book is also witness to the extraordinary and
passionate experience of the analytical cure.

Furthermore, to make these theoretical notions more
meaningful and to reply to questions concerning what
actually happens in a psychoanalytical practice, this book
provides extracts from clinical sessions, thus giving the
reader a concrete idea of what is said on the couch and a link
between the theory and the practice.

Of course, in order to preserve the anonymity of the
patients, the details or characteristics allowing their
identification have been either slightly or radically modified.

The inconvenience of this is that these extracts lose that
which is at the heart of the analytical ethic: the unique and
singular character of each patient, but the advantage is that
these extracts “speak” to a great number of readers who,
other than the authors, could recognise a part of themselves.

The aim of this book is to incite in its readers the desire
(envie) to know more about psychoanalysis or about
themselves and the desire(envie) to undertake an analysis. A
desire (envie) to embark upon this long journey, which will
lead them to a feeling of “l’en-vie” .

In French the author is making a play on words. «Envie» means desire,
craving, longing and «en-vie» written in two words means being alive.


Chapter 1 – The unconscious and symptoms

Psychoanalysis is a little more than a hundred years old.
Sigmund Freud invented it at the end of the 19century.
Today, a certain number of psychoanalytical discoveries
have become general knowledge and are commonplace. For
example, we accept that an unconscious exists, that a part of
our sexual drives are repressed, that there is such a thing as
an Oedipus complex and that our Freudian slips can be
Nevertheless, we must try to imagine the context of
prudish values of the 1890’s and 1900’s to fully understand
the thunderbolt of the new psychoanalytical discourse. The
first patient to whom Freud said: “You have an unconscious
desire to sleep with your mother” must have nearly fallen off
the couch! In 1905 Freud created a scandal when he
published his bookThree Essays On The Theory Of Sexuality in
which he claimed that children were animated by sexual
drives and referred to the child as “polymorphous perverse”
(to convey the idea that the sexual drives, which are
numerous, go in all directions, without organisation).

This scandal was nothing compared to Freud’s
understanding of the unconscious and how it revolutionised
our way of thinking. Certainly the term “unconscious”
existed before Freud, but he was the first to give its meaning
such scope. The Freudian unconscious goes beyond the
simple opposition between things we consciously know and
those of an unconscious kind that we are unaware of.
Freud’s originality does not lie in the distinction between the
known and the unknown, but in the importance given to the
unknown. Our unconscious determines us and makes us act.
In other words, we are not masters of ourselves. There is an
unknown pilot directing our course of action.