Variations on the Standard Treatment : 3rd February 1955 : Jacques Lacan

by Julia Evans on February 3, 1955

In French


« Variantes de la cure-type » par Jacques Lacan, Médecin des Hôpitaux psychiatriques, publié dans l’Encyclopédie Médico-Chirurgicale – Psychiatrie – le 3 février 1955, référencé cote 37812 C10 pages 1 à 11. Ce texte fut supprimé de l’E.M.C. en 1960. Nous reproduisons les variations de taille de caractère proposés par ce texte-source. 

Introduction via Internet translation : “Variants de la cure-type” by Jacques Lacan, Psychiatric Hospital Physician, published in the Encyclopédie Médico-Chirurgicale – Psychiatry – on February 3, 1955, referenced as 37812 C10 pages 1 to 11. This text was removed from the E.M.C. in 1960. We reproduce the variations of font size proposed by this source text.

In English translation

P269-302 of Ecrits, The First Complete Edition in English by Bruce Fink (Translator), Jacques Lacan (Author), W. W. Norton, 2002. Available from  /lacan  (February 1955)

See Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan or  

Jacques Lacan refers to Freud

In “Variations on the Standard Treatment”, p296-297 of Bruce Fink’s translation, Lacan writes: 
…psychoanalysis is also a practice subordinated by its purpose to what is most particular about the subject. And when Freud emphasizes this, going so far as to say that analytic science must be called back into question in the analy­sis of each case (see the case of “The Wolf Man,” passim, the entire discussion of the case unfolding on the basis of this principle)…
Quotes from “From the History of an Infantile Neurosis (The ‘Wolf Man’)” : 1914 [published 1918b] : Sigmund Freud. SE XVII p3 or Penguin Freud Library (PFL) Vol 9 p225, GW VIII p125-220 Published bilingual Page (FROM THE HISTORY OF AN INFANTILE NEUROSIS [The Wolfman])

SE XVII p7   1 This case history was written down shortly after the termination of the treatment, in the winter of 1914-15. At that time I was still freshly under the impression of the twisted re-interpretations which C. G. Jung and Alfred Adler were endeavouring to give to the findings of psycho- analysis. This paper is therefore connected with my essay ‘On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement’ which was published in the Jahrbuch tier Psychoanalyse in 1914. It supplements the polemic contained in that essay, which is in its essence of a personal character, by an objectivation of the analytic material.

SE XVII p8  I have formed the opinion that this case, like many others which clinical psychiatry has labelled with the most multifarious and shifting diagnoses, is to be regarded as a condition following on an obsessional neurosis which has come to an end spontaneously, but has left a defect behind it after recovery.

SE XVII p9  But nevertheless, so many of the later deposits are wanting in them that the essence of the neurosis springs to the eyes with unmistakable distinctness. In the present phase of the battle which is raging round psycho-analysis the resistance to its findings has, as we know, taken on a new form. People were content formerly to dispute the reality of the facts which are asserted by analysis;  and for this purpose the best technique seemed to be to avoid examining them. That procedure appears to be, slowly exhausting itself; and people are now adopting another plan- of recognizing the facts, but of eliminating, by means of twisted interpretations, the consequences that follow from them, so that the critics can still ward off the objectionable novelties as efficiently as ever. The study of children’s neuroses exposes the complete inadequacy of these shallow or high-handed attempts at re-interpretation. It shows the predominant part that is played in the formation of neuroses by those libidinal motive forces which are so eagerly disavowed, and reveals the absence of any aspirations towards remote cultural aims, of which the child still knows nothing, and which cannot therefore be of any significance for him.

SE XVII p10  Analyses which lead to a favourable conclusion in a short time are of value in ministering to the therapeutist’s self-esteem and substantiate the medical importance of psycho-analysis; but they remain for the most part insignificant as regards the advancement of scientific knowledge. Nothing new is learnt from them. In fact they only succeed so quickly because everything that was necessary for their accomplishment was already known. Something new can only be gained from analyses that present special difficulties, and to the overcoming ofthese a great deal of time has to be devoted. Only in such cases do we .succeed in descending into the deepest and most primitive strata of mental development and in gaining from there solutions for the problems of the later formations. And we feel afterwards that, strictly speaking, only an analysis which has penetrated so far deserves the name. Naturally a single case does not give us all the information that we should like to have. Or, to put it more correctly, it might teach us everything, if we were only in a position to make everything out, and if we were not compelled by the inexperience of our own perception to content ourselves with a little.

As regards these fertile difficulties the case I am about to discuss left nothing to be desired.

SE XVII p10 – 11  Of the physician’s point of view I can only declare that in a case of this kind he must behave as ‘timelessly’ as the unconscious itself,1 if he wishes to learn anything or to achieve anything. And in the end he will succeed in doing so, if he has the strength to renounce any short-sighted therapeutic ambition. It is not to be expected that the amount of patience, adaptability, insight, and confidence demanded of the patient and his relatives will be forthcoming in many other cases. But the analyst has a right to feel that the results which he has attained from such lengthy work in one case will help substantially to reduce the length of the treatment in a subsequent case of equal severity, and that by submitting on a single occasion to the timelessness of the unconscious he will be brought nearer to vanquishing it in the end.1

Availability of references in ‘Variations’

P273, reference [8] of Bruce Fink’s translation :  Some aspects of transference : 4th April 1951 (London?) : Daniel Lagache  or  

[19]  Sigmund Freud: Analysis Terminable & Interminable: 1937c, SE XXIII, p209-54   Published, bilingual, at /Homepage  (Analysis Terminable and Interminable (Die endliche und die unendliche Analyse))

p279 is taken up again by him in his major work, Inhibitions, Symptoms & Anguish – Angst [mistranslated as Anxiety] : 1926d : Sigmund FreudSE  XX p75-175 : Download bilingual Part 1 /homepage  (INHBITIONS (Part I), & Par2 /homepage  (SYMPTOMS AND ANXIETY (Part II))     

[23] Sigmund Freud : Drives [mistranslated as Instincts] and their Vicissitudes: 1915c, Published as Triebe und Triebschicksale. Internationale Zeitschrift für (ärztliche) Psychoanalyse, III, p. 84-100; G.W., X, p. 210-232; Instincts and their vicissitudes. SE XIV p117-140  :  published bilingual at / Freud: The Metapsychological Papers, Papers on Technique and others (6. Instincts and Their Vicissitudes)

[24] which joins Mass (mistranslated as Group) Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, : GW XIII p71-161, SE XVIII p69-143 : Published bilingual at    /Freud: The Metapsychological Papers, Papers on Technique and others  

[25] developing the notions of primary masochism and the death instinct, found in Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920g), : GW XIII p1-69, SE XVIII p7-64, Available bilingual as published at   //homepage (BEYOND THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE)

[26] “Die Verneinung” GW XIV p11-15, “Negation” SE XIX p235-39, 1925h, published bilingual by /Homepage (Negation (Die Verneinung))

[27] …his growing interest in aggressiveness in transference, in resistance, and even in Civilization and Its Discontents (1929), : GW XIV p421-506, SE XXI p58-145, Published bilingually /Freud/Philosophy (31. CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS (Das Unbehagen in der Kultur)

[28] See Aggressivity in Psychoanalysis : mid-May 1948 (Brussels) : Jacques Lacan or or  /lacan (May 1948)

Mirror Stage: 16th June 1936 (Paris), 3rd August 1936 (Marienbad), 1938, 17th July 1949 (Zurich), 1966: Jacques Lacan or or  /lacan (July 1949)

[31]  Alice Balint : Love for the Mother and Mother Love : 1939 : Information  or  /authors a-z (Balint) or authors by date (1939)

[37] The future prospects of psychoanalytic therapy : 1910d : Sigmund Freud, GW VIII p104-15, SE XI p141-51

[38] p298  … Thus the analyst must know, better than anyone else, that he can only be himself in his speech. … Indeed, the analyst’s being acts even in his silence, and it is at the low-water level of the truth that sustains him that the subject proffers his speech. But while, in accordance with the law of speech, it is in him qua other that the subject find his own identity, it is in order to maintain his own being there. 

The result is far removed from narcissistic identification, … and that must understood as the gap opened up in the imaginary by any and every rejection (Verwerfung) of the commandments of speech. [38] 

SE XVII p79-80, GW XII p111 – this is a mistake, should be GW VIII p194-195 

of From the History of an Infantile Neurosis (The ‘Wolf Man’) : 1914 [published 1918b] : Sigmund Freud. SE XVII p3 or Penguin Freud Library (PFL) Vol 9 p225, GW VIII p125-220 Published bilingual /Home Page (FROM THE HISTORY OF AN INFANTILE NEUROSIS [The Wolfman])

SE XVII p79-80, That it should have been possible from that time onwards for a fear of castration to exist side by side with an identification with women by means of the bowel admittedly involved a contradiction. But it was only a logical contradiction-which

is not saying much. On the contrary, the whole process is characteristic of the way in which the unconscious works. A repression is something very different from a condemning judgement.

When we were studying the genesis of the wolf phobia, we followed the effect of his new insight into the sexual act; but now that we are investigating the disturbances of the intestinal function, we find ourselves working on the basis of the old cloacal theory. The two points of view remained separated from each other by a stage of repression.

[40] Papers on technique : Recommendations to physicians practising psychoanalysis : 1912 : Sigmund Freud, SE XII p109-119. Published, bilingual, at  /Freud: The Metapsychological Papers, Papers on Technique and others (Papers on technique)

SE XII p111, GW VIII? p170


On the Right Use of Supervision : May 2002 : Éric Laurent  or  

Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan or  


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