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Title: The heritage of Freudian theoretical and clinical constructs in contemporary psychoanalytical practice : epistemological conjectures and clinical refutations : the significance of the Menninger Clinic in the validation of psychoanalysis in international mental health practice inherent to the contributions of Lacan, Fairbairn, Matte-Blanco, Bion, Grotstein & Kernberg
Author: Peres Dias, Carlos
ISNI:       0000 0004 2712 6404
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This Thesis aims to present an overview of the development to this point of psychoanalysis as a discipline –both as a theory of the mind (Freud, Lacan, Fairbairn, Bion, Matte-Blanco, Grotstein, Kernberg: theoretical prolegomena; Laplanche’s ‘secondary discourse’) and a treatment of the disorders of the mind [Freud’s clinical text such as “Dora’s Case”, my own clinical cases, and the ‘Menninger Psychotherapy Research Project’ (MPRP): practical constructs; Laplanche’s ‘primary discourse’)] – and offer a prediction (in my conclusion but also in my introduction) concerning evolving psychoanalytic development over its (near) future. My focus is on the coherence of psychoanalysis as a theoretical structure –and that is the coherence of my doctoral Thesis as a whole– starting with Freud’s strenuous endeavours to maintain the psychoanalysis that he had single-handedly created as a unitary and unified theory, tracing then the breakdown of this effort, even in Freud’s lifetime into the burgeoning theoretical diversity or ‘pluralism’ that characterizes worldwide psychoanalysis today, and then going on to the beginning appearance of evidences – not yet widely remarked– of growing convergences from within very disparate and even seemingly very opposed theoretical perspectives, at least at the level of technical interventions and experience-near clinical theory, with implications, however, even for the level of experience-distant general (metapsychological) theory: this is how the theoretical prolegomena as a ‘secondary discourse’ relate to the practical/clinical constructs as a ‘primary discourse’. All this is done under a hermeneutic meta-interpretation (Laplanche’s ‘secondary discourse’) because I am unfolding a systematization of theories of mind interpreting them according to my clinical experience (the ‘analyst’s mind’; Laplanche’s ‘primary discourse’). Such a development, if sustained, as I anticipate (and this doctoral Thesis also tries to promote), would strengthen the credibility of psychoanalysis as a science of the mind, amenable to growth (this growth constitutes the epistemological leap from the hermeneutic categorisation to the positivist research) through empirical research (the MPRP is a heuristic example of how psychoanalytic research should be done; a positivist approach because ‘falsifiable’ research has to be positivist; being the MPRP a psychoanalytic clinical research, it is, by inherence, also a practical/clinical construct and, paradoxically, unfolds what Laplanche calls the ‘primary discourse’) in accordance with the canons of scientific method. My conclusion will summarize the present situation of psychoanalysis as one of increasing theoretical and practical diversity (sowing, once again, the theoretical prolegomena as a ‘secondary discourse’ with the practical/clinical constructs as a ‘primary discourse’) illustrating that the final aim of my entire dissertation is to consider in depth the impact of theoretical plurality on clinical practice and vice versa demonstrating that psychoanalytic theory comes after clinical work. After noting that the analyst has much more than evenly suspended attention in his mind as he works with his patient in a session, I review both older and more recent contributions on what the analyst has in his mind when working with a patient. I suggest that the subject has been addressed mainly from a single-person perspective. In this connection, and on the basis of clinical material, I attempt to show how, against the background of the ‘implicit use of explicit theories’ (Laplanche’s ‘secondary discourse’), an ongoing process of decision-making that is co-determined by the patient’s action and reaction takes place in the ‘analyst’s mind’ (Laplanche’s ‘primary discourse’). In my analysis of a session, I introduce the concepts of ‘theoretical reason and practical reason’, and contend that, whatever theories the analyst may have implicitly or explicitly in his mind (Laplanche’s ‘secondary discourse’), they ultimately yield to clinical/practical/deconstructive ‘reasons’ (the ‘magnetism’ that Laplanche posits between the ‘method and its object’ as a ‘primary discourse’). Pursuing the same line of thought, I describe validation in the clinical context as a single, wide-ranging, continuous process of social and linguistic co-(de)construction of the intersubjective reality between patient and analyst (this is seen not only in the MPRP but also in the ‘The Ulm Psychoanalytic Process Research Study Group’; the latter only referred briefly). This process includes mutual aspects of observation and of communicative and pragmatic validation. In conclusion, I suggest that the figure of the craftsman is an appropriate description of the analyst in his conception (Laplanche’s ‘primary discourse’) of his (deconstructive) clinical work, whatever the theory he may espouse (Laplanche’s ‘secondary discourse’).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available