How to swallow the medication? : 2004 : Éric Laurent

by Julia Evans on January 1, 2004

Translated by Justin Clemens

Available on the web-site of Psychoanalysis Lacan. This is a free, online journal publishing contemporary psychoanalysis in the Lacanian orientation. Psychoanalysis Lacan is operated by members of the Lacan Circle of Australia, a professional association dedicated to the study and transmission of psychoanalysis.

From Volume 2 Crisis of Psychoanalysis Lacan, from the on-line Journal, available

Originally published in French,

LAURENT, Éric. Comment avaler la pilule? In: Ornicar ? De Jacques Lacan à Lewis Carroll. Paris: Navarin, 2004.

References to Jacques Lacan in Laurent’s text

There is no known English translation of these three texts.

– Jacques Lacan (1966) Psychanalyse et medicine. Unpublished lecture. : Quote from p8 – It is thus that, in his 1966 Lecture addressed to doctors, Lacan drew the doctors’ attention to his relation to demand, beyond his function as distributor of medication: “The scientific world pours the infinite number of what it can produce as new therapeutic agents, chemical or biological, that it puts at the disposition of the public into the doctor’s hands; and it asks him, like some distribution agent, to test them out” (Lacan 1966). Lacan reminds the doctor of his ethical place, which is to place himself with respect to “demand” [le demande]. & p10 – This is exactly what Lacan underlined in 1966 in a context where we still did not know the consequences to draw from ethics beyond deontology.  : – See École Lacanienne de Psychanalyse/ Pas-Tout Lacan : Conférence et débat du Collège de Médecine à La Salpetrière : Cahiers du Collège de Médecine 1966, pp. 761 à 774, La Place de la Psychanalyse dans la Medicine : 16th February 1966 : Jacques Lacan : Available here

NOW available in translation – see  The place of psychoanalysis in medicine : 16th February 1966 (La Salpetrière, Paris) : Jacques Lacan  or  here & published bilingually at  /Lacan (29. La Place de la Psychanalyse dans la Médecine)

– Jacques Lacan (1967) Conférence sur la psychanalyse et la formation de psychiatre. Unpublished lecture. : Quote from p7 – Addressing psychiatrists in 1967, Lacan set out the position of medication in our field on the basis of another family of uses of medication. He says, “Psychiatry returns to general medicine on the grounds that general medicine itself enters entirely into pharmaceutical dynamics. Obviously new things are being produced there: one obsesses, one soothes, one interferes or modifies…” (1967). & p13 – The effect of this medication on the structure of clinical evolution is difficult to assess. Lacan said in 1967, “One does not know at all what one modifies nor, moreover, where these modifications are going.” This remark still remains clinically pertinent. & p15 – When Lacan stated in 1967 that there had been no new clinical inventions since the time of his thesis, this was not to situate himself in the valiant troupe of “the last of the inventors,” just like the “last of the Mohicans.” He was stating that, at that time, the psychiatric clinic had been profoundly subverted by both the psychoanalytic clinic and science. Clinical history is no longer unifiable from that moment.  : – See École Lacanienne de Psychanalyse/ Pas-Tout Lacan : Conference sur la Psychanalyse et la Formation du Psychiatre a Ste Anne : 10th November 1967 : Jacques Lacan : given as part of the Cercle d’études psychiatriques created by Dr Henri Ey : Available here

Footnote 5 : Cf. the intervention of Lacan during the closing session of the “Journée des cartels” of the EFP in 1975. : Quote from p12 – The real effect of medication is an effect that is outside sense. It is also what is obtained by the drug, which frees man from his “marriage” [5] with phallic jouissance. There is also a passage outside sense, a forcing of the barrier posed by this jouissance. : See École Lacanienne de Psychanalyse/ Pas-Tout Lacan : Journées des cartels de l’École freudienne de Paris. Le Séance de Clôture : 13th April 1975 : Jacques Lacan : Published Maison de la chimie, Paris, Lettre de l’École freudienne, 1976, n° 18, pp. 263-270. : Available here

Note : Further details of the availability of the Journées & Closing Session  at Religions and the Real (Paris) : 13th April 1975 : Jacques Lacan or here


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Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst


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By Julia Evans