A New Direction to the Psychoanalytic Wind in America

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-After years of decline, psychoanalysis in America has taken on a new direction with the establishment of a Lacanian psychoanalytic clinic in Los Angeles. This month Psychoanalysis Los Angeles California Extension (PLACE) celebrates seven years of providing Lacanian psychoanalysis to America with its incorporation as a nonmedical, nonuniversity, and nonprofit association.

"We offer neither psychological counseling nor psychotherapy, but Lacanian Psychoanalysis" says Robert Groome, one of the directors of PLACE."I am often asked, 'What is Lacanian Psychoanalysis?' and begin by stating that it has little to do with the psychoanalysis of your parents or the stereotypes portrayed by Woody Allen. We base our model on those clinics currently operating in France". Contemporary Psychoanalysis in France began when Jacques Lacan returned to the texts of Freud, changing the way psychoanalysis was taught and practiced. It is this Lacanian exception that sets a new bar for the theory and practice of psychoanalysis.

PLACE addresses those forms of suffering — anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, sexual issues, etc. — that afflict our modern democracies. PLACE proposes to get out of the current revolving door of psychiatric pharmacological treatments and traditional psychotherapeutic talk-therapy by re-educating the public to the Lacanian exception. "By incorporating the 'patient' into the cure, we have re-established the position of psychoanalysis that is long overdue in America: there is no psychotherapeutic cure without also a didactic entry into the theory of psychoanalysis" says Robert Groome. "In order to facilitate this entry,we are introducing a more neutral conception of psychoanalysis, a pure theory of place - or topology - that goes beyond all the stereotypical contents that have weighed down its theory … penis envy, castration, incest, etc."

To achieve this formalization, PLACE establishes a clinic in a more original way, not as a diagnosis of the patient's symptom by the doctor, but in an interpretation of the transference of the doctor-patient relation, that is to say, in the construction of a symbolic structure. At PLACE, there are, therefore, no case presentations by doctors of their patients who are labeled neurotics or psychotics in the plural, but more rigorously there are collaborative case presentations of neurotic and psychotic structures. Taking the emphasis off the production of doctors and patients, and putting it on the production of psychoanalysis, Lacanian psychoanalysis at PLACE achieves Freud's theory in a new direction.

Since 1998 PLACE has provided Lacanian psychoanalysis not only for the educated adult, but also for everyday families and people from all walks of life and from any social background. It is unique in its field insofar as it is not merely doctors who are board members and have a voice in its organization, but those people who are often improperly called patients. Although we believe their involvement to be the best guarantee and testament to the success and ethics of our psychoanalytic clinic, it is important not to overlook just how the nonhierarchical organization of the association functions on the basis of its psychoanalytic and topological structure.

For more info go to: http://www.topoi.net

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Mary Ellen Powell
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