The Ethics of Psychoanalysis


The following is taken from one session in a series of introductory seminars as part of the Lacan Circle of Melbourne’s activities.


There is an interesting remark by Miller, in a paper from 2012 on the aims of psychoanalysis. ‘The psychoanalyst’s routine is therapeutic. His business is with the symptom that has to be cured.’ Psychoanalysts can put on airs, and ascribe lofty goals to their practice, but people come to consult with an analyst because something is causing them suffering. As Miller says, ‘If somebody goes to see a psychoanalyst for the sake of knowledge and not to get rid of a symptom it is not very certain that his demand can be received’.  So, whatever one may learn of oneself in the course of analysis, analytic praxis is not reducible to a quest for knowledge. Continue reading


CBT and Scatology

“Freud was full of horseshit”. These are the words of Albert Ellis, co-founder of CBT and originator of what he calls Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT). Continue reading

Comment on CBT v Psychoanalysis Debate

Oliver Burkeman opened up the debate on CBT and psychoanalysis the the Guardian. Continue reading


‘Changing Minds’: An unintentional satire of the mental health industry

In recent years, there has been an annual commemoration of ‘Mental Health Week’, a period in which Australians are subjected to ‘awareness campaigns’ by various media organisations. We tend to receive a familiar style of ‘messaging’, namely, tokenism (‘Are You Ok Day?’), advocacy for more bureaucracy, and censorship of views that do not conform to simplistic biomedical paradigms. It is in this context that the national broadcaster screened ‘Changing Minds’, a series which ‘journeys with mentally ill patients on their road to recovery, from breaking point to breakthrough.’ The setting for the doco is a hospital in Sydney, and patients and staff apparently consented to the footage being made public. Continue reading


The Debate on Directive Treatments in Psychology


Here are some responses to points/questions that recently arose on twitter, in longer than 140 characters:

Continue reading


Evidence Yields: The failure of web-based ‘treatment’ for mental health

Computerised treatment of mental health is one of the latest fads in psychology. It isn’t hard to see why it is promoted by practitioners and policy-makers. That it exists at all demonstrates a triumph of technique over transference in psychotherapy of cost-effectiveness over clinical care; of the primacy of giving a narcissistic boost over a discursive exchange; and of the privatisation and individualisation of suffering rather than its socialisation. Computerised treatment is promoted uncritically by leading mental health groups in Australia, such as the Black Dog Institute, and Beyond Blue. Continue reading


One of Freud’s Asides

I recently had occasion to re-read Freud’s case of the Ratman, and was struck by a passage in which Freud attempts to educate his obsessional neurotic patient in the underlying principles of psychoanalysis: Continue reading