Introduction to the Lacanian Clinic of Psychosis

Introduction to the Lacanian Clinic of Psychosis Perhaps the most distinctive of Lacan’s multiple contributions to contemporary psychoanalysis is his reformulation of the clinic of psychosis. His extraction of the concept of foreclosure from his reading of the Freudian cases of the Wolf Man and Schreber, formalised within the framework of structural linguistics, provided the basis for a profound reconfiguration of psychoanalytic theory and clinic of psychosis. Given that these developments have a central role in the elaboration of Lacan’s teaching, a solid grasp of the foundations of the Lacanian clinic of psychosis turns out to be essential for any orientation in the theory and clinic of Lacanian psychoanalysis more generally. This introduction the Lacanian clinic of psychosis, anchored around a close reading of the central texts, will explore the fundamental concepts involved. In particular, the course will involve a detailed examination of the concept of foreclosure, extracted by Lacan in the first instance from his reading of Freud’s account of the Wolf Man’s hallucination of the severed finger. We will then track the various incarnations of this notion of foreclosure in the course of Lacan’s work, as indexed variously on the notions of castration, name of the father, jouissance and sexual non-rapport. In pursuing these developments we will take as our broad framework the notion of generalised foreclosure elaborated by Jacques-Alain Miller, seeking to follow the trajectory that takes us from the notion of restricted or particular foreclosure in the initial Lacanian reading of the case of Schreber towards a notion of generalised foreclosure that Miller situates at the heart of the later Borromean clinic. The work of the course will be organised around a structured reading of the three central points of reference for Lacan’s elaboration of these notions, the case of the Wolf Man, that of Schreber, and ultimately a re-reading of the question of Joyce’s psychosis and the elaboration of the notion of the sinthome central to the Borromean clinic.  No prior familiarity with these questions is required although the course will be addressed to practicing clinicians and will also assume a willingness to engage in sustained reading of the central texts.