The Logic and Surprises of Supervision at the Time of the Parlêtre : 7th March 2015 (Italy) : Éric Laurent

by Julia Evans on March 7, 2015

This text was given during a ‘Conversation of the SLP’ (La Scuola Lacaniana di Psicoanalisi del Campo Freudiano) with the title ‘The surprising effects of supervision’. A recording of the original intervention, in Italian, can be found at : here

English translation:

Published Autumn 2016 in The Lacanian Review : Issue 02 : p118 to 132

Translated by Philip Dravers

Available at  /laurent

References & their availability in English

(Reference numbers refer to the text)

Texts by Jacques Lacan followed by texts by Sigmund Freud

1.  Intervention dans la séance de travail ‘Sur la passe’ : 3rd November 1973 (Afternoon in Paris) : Jacques Lacan :

Availability in French here : Quote: Voilà ce que j’obtiens après avoir proposé cette expérience. J’obtiens quelque chose, qui n’est justement absolument pas de l’ordre du discours du maître ni du magister, encore bien moins, quelque chose qui partirait de l’idée de formation, j’ai parlé des formations de l’inconscient, mais il faudrait savoir remarquer les choses dont je ne parle pas, dont je n’ai jamais même laissé une trace : je n’ai jamais parlé de formation analytique. J’ai parlé de formations de l’inconscient. Il n’y a pas de formation analytique, mais de l’analyse se dégage une expérience, dont c’est tout à fait à tort, qu’on la qualifie de didactique.

8. ‘Founding Act’ 21st June 1964: Jacques Lacan :

Information and availability here  : Translated by Jeffrey Melhman:

p102 of October Vol 40 : …it is all the more important to underscore what separates them.

Ecole Freudienne de Paris- that title, which was kept in reserve in the founding act, clearly announces to whoever limits himself to its terms the intentions from which we proceed.

Let us pass by the site from which we reclaim, not without being entitled to do so, along with the original shield, the act of defiance already saluted by Freud that it entails: the École affirms itself to be first of all Freudian, for the reason that- if there were ever a truth undoubtedly sustained by a presence patient in its reiteration, but which by dint of that e ect has become the con­ science, as it were, of the French soil- it is that the Freudian message, in its radical thrust, goes far beyond the use to which it is put by practitioners of Anglophonic obedience.

Even if one lends a hand in France, as elsewhere, to a practice mitigated by the unfurling of a form of psychotherapy associated with the needs of social hygiene, – it is a fact that no practitioner can fail to manifest his discomfort or aversion, indeed his derision or horror, in proportion to the opportunities he affords himself to dip into the open space in which the practice hereby denounced enters its imperialist phase: conformist in its aims, barbarous in its doctrine, a complete regression to psychologism, pure and simple, – the whole thing poorly compensated for by the promotion of a heresy it would be easy to caricature, but which in its solemnity is indeed the residue bearing witness to the training through which psychoanalysis does not come totally undone in what it is propagating.

Also in Autres Écrits: 2001 : Jacques Lacan : Information here [& 9 & 10]

12 ‘Proposal of 9th October 1967 
on the psychoanalyst of the School’: Jacques Lacan :

Information & availability here [&14 ] : near end of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : The objections that our proposal has encountered, does not stem in our School from such an organic fear.

The fact that they are expressed in a justifiable theme already mobilises self-criticism. The verification of ability, calling for fairer titles, is no longer ineffable. It is by such a trial that authority makes itself recognized.

Let the assembly of technicians know that it is not a question of contesting authority, but of removing it from fiction.

OR the end of Russell Grigg’s translation : The objections that our proposition has encountered does not stem in our School from a fear that is as organic/structural.

The fact that they are expressed in a motivated theme already activates self-criticism. The supervision of capabilities is no longer ineffable through requiring more accurate titles.

It is on such a test that authority can be recognised.

That the public of technicians know that it is not a question of disputing authority, but of extracting it from fiction.

The Ecole freudienne cannot fall into the humourless tough-guy attitude of a psychoanalyst whom I met on my most recent trip to the D.S.A. “The reason I will never attack the established forms”, he told me, “is that they provide me with a routine with no problems, and this makes me comfortable.”

13 De Rome 53 à Rome 67 Raison d’un Échec :

in translation From Rome ’53 to Rome ’67: Psychoanalysis: Reason for a Defeat: 15th December 1967: Jacques Lacan : Information & availability here

Also in Autres Écrits: 2001 : Jacques Lacan : Information here : Quote from Jack W. Stone’s translation : (near the end) The importance of what is at stake does not matter there: it is after all ridiculous. It is the step of the wager that constitutes what the psychoanalysis, in the measure of its seriousness, stakes against the subject, since, this wager, psychoanalysis [elle] must return it to its madness. But the stake obtained in the end offers this refuge from which every man makes himself a rampart against an act still without measure: the refuge of power.

15 Discours de Rome et réponses aux interventions (Rome) : 26th September 1953 : Jacques Lacan :

See here

‘Discours de Rome’ introduces Lacan’s Rome Report : See The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis (Rome) : 26th September 1953 : Jacques Lacan Information here

Availability is given Autres Écrits: 2001 : Jacques Lacan or here    [& 19] :

Aussi bien est-ce par le médium de cette structure où s’ordonne tout transfert, qu’a pu se lire tout ce que nous savons de la structure des névrosés. De même que si le truchement de la parole n’était pas essentiel à la structure analytique, le contrôle d’une analyse par un analyste qui n’en a que le rapport verbal, serait strictement impensable, alors qu’il est un des modes les plus clairs et les plus féconds de la relation analytique (cf. le rapport).

16 Seminar XV : 29th November 1967 : Jacques Lacan

See Seminar XV : The Psychoanalytic Act : 1967-1968 : begins 15th November 1967 : Jacques Lacan : Information and availability here :

pIII 11 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : It is, as I might say, to be considered in these terms. Socrates uses a drawing. If we say that in the mind of his partner, there is already everything necessary to respond to what Socrates brings along, that can mean two things that I would express as follows. Either it is a drawing, I would not say a double, or, to use a modern term which corresponds to what is called a function, namely, the possibility of the application of Socrates’ drawing onto his own or inversely. It is, of course, not at all necessary for the squares to be correct, either in one case or in the other. But, let us say, in one case it is a square according to a Mercator projection, namely, a square square, and in the other case something twisted in different ways. It will nevertheless remain that the point by point correspondence is what gives to the relation of what Socrates contributes, to that through which his interlocutor answers him, a very particular value which is that of deciphering. This interests us, us analysts. Because in a certain way this is what our analysis of transference means in the interpretative dimension. It is in the measure that our interpretation links in a different way a chain which is nevertheless a chain and already a signifying chain that it works. And then there is another possible way of imagining it. Instead of our seeing that there are two drawings which are not, at first approach, the transfer (décalque) one of the other, we can suppose a metaphor, namely, that nothing is seen, I mean from the side of the slave, but in the way that one can say in certain cases: this is a drawing. You see nothing, but it must be exposed to fire. You know that there are inks that are called sympathetic and the drawing appears. There is then, as we say when we are dealing with a sensitive plate, a revelation.

Is it between these two terms that the suspense occurs of what is at stake for us in analysis, in terms of a re-translation, I am saying “re” because in this case already the first signifying inscription is already the translation of something.

18 The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis (Rome) : 26th September 1953 : Jacques Lacan

Information and availability here : p44-45 of Alan Sheridan’s translation

22 Seminar XXIII : 18th November 1975 :

Seminar XXIII: The Sinthome or Joyce and the Sinthome: 1975-1976: beginning on November 18th 1975 : Jacques Lacan : Availability here :

p9-10 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : … in connection with the tongue, in so far as it designates the instrument of the word, that it was also the tongue that carried what are described as taste buds. Well the, I retorted that it is not for nothing that what one says lies – au’on dit ment (condiment). You are good enough to laugh. But it is not funny. Because [p10] when all is said and done, because when all is said and done, that is the only weapon we have against the sinthome; equivocation.

I sometimes offer myself the luxury of supervising, as it is called, a certain number, a certain number of people who have authorised themselves, in accordance with my formula, to be analysts. There are two stages. There is one stage when they are like the rhinoceros; they do more or less anything and I always approve them. In effect they are always right. The second stage consists in playing with this equivocation which might liberate from the symptom. Because it is uniquely by equivocation that interpretation works. There must be something in the signifier that resonates.

It must be said that one is surprised, in short, that this has in no way appeared to the English philosophers. I call them philosophers because they are not psychoanalysts. They have a rock solid belief that the word does not have an effect. They are wrong. They imagine to themselves that there are drives, even indeed when they are willing not to translate drive by instinct. They cannot get it into their heads that drives are the echo in the body of the fact that there is a saying. [cont]

23 Seminar XXIII : 18th November 1975 :

p10 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : But for this speech to resonate, for it to be consonant with, to use another word of the sinthome madaquin, for it to consonate, the body must be sensitive to it. And that it is, is a fact. It is because the body has some orifices of which the most important, of which the most important because it cannot be stopped, be closed, of which the most important is the ear, because it cannot be shut, that it is because of this that there is a response in the body to what I called the voice.

27 Preface to the English-language edition of Seminar XI : 17th May 1976 : Jacques Lacan :

Availability here : Also in Autres Écrits: 2001 : Jacques Lacan or here :

pvii of Alan Sheridan’s translation : When the space of a lapsus no longer carries any meaning (or interpretation), then only is one sure that one is in the unconscious. One knows.

But one has only to be aware of the fact to find oneself outside it. There is no friendship there, in that space that supports this unconscious.

All I can do is tell the truth. No, that isn’t so—I have missed it. There is no truth that, in passing through awareness, does not lie.

But one runs after it all the same.

References to Sigmund Freud

2. The Question of Lay Analysis : 1926 : Sigmund Freud : SEXX p254

[p3386] From Postscript : 1927 : Sigmund Freud : The real point at issue, it will be said, is a different one, namely the application of analysis to the treatment of patients; in so far as it claims to do this it must be content, the argument will run, to be accepted as a specialized branch of medicine, like radiology, for instance, and to submit to the rules laid down for all therapeutic methods. I recognize that that is so; I admit it. I only want to feel assured that the therapy will not destroy the science. Unluckily analogies never carry one more than a certain distance; a point is soon reached at which the subjects of the comparison take divergent paths. The case of analysis differs from that of radiology. A physicist does not require to have a patient in order to study the laws that govern X-rays. But the only subject-matter of psycho-analysis is the mental processes of human beings and it is only in human beings that it can be studied. For reasons which can easily be understood, neurotic human beings offer far more instructive and accessible material than normal ones, and to withhold that material from anyone who wishes to study and apply analysis is to dock him of a good half of his training possibilities. I have, of course, no intention of asking that the interests of neurotic patients should be sacrificed to those of instruction and scientific research. The aim of my small volume on the question of lay analysis was precisely to show that, if certain precautions are observed, the two interests can quite easily be brought into harmony and that the interests of medicine, as rightly understood, will not be the last to profit by such a solution.


-Jacques Lacan introduced the neologism ‘parlêtre’ in 1974 to indicate that “carnal being” which is “haunted by the word.” See Press Conference at the French Cultural Center, Rome (The Triumph of Religion) : 29th October 1974 : Jacques Lacan Availability given here

Note : If links to any required text do not work, check If a particular text or book remains absent, contact Julia Evans.

Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst, London

Further texts

Of the clinic : here

Lacanian Transmission : here

Some Lacanian History : here

Topology : here

From LW working groups : here

By Éric Laurent here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud : here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here

By Julia Evans here