Understanding Psychosis

The British Psychological Society has released a major report on psychosis, which pushes the debate on this topic further than anywhere else in mainstream psychology in the Anglophone world. The report calls for, among other things, listening to psychotics themselves; seeing psychotic experiences as ‘understandable’ responses to distress, on a continuum with ‘normal’ phenomena; a rethink of bioreductionism and the medical model more generally; advocacy of ‘formulation’ rather than diagnosis, and advocacy of patient rights more generally; and finally, the provision of psychotherapeutic treatments alongside pharmaceutical approaches. There are numerous online responses to this report already, some supportive, some hostile. I would like to offer a few words from a critical, psychoanalytic perspective. Continue reading

Reductio ad traumatum

In 1933, two servant girls in Le Mans, France, Christine and Léa Papin, murdered two of their employers.(1) Madame Lancelin and her adult daughter were bludgeoned and knived repeatedly, to the point of unrecognisability. Each had their eyes gouged out. The Papin sisters had spent much of their young lives in institutional care. Their family had a history of incestuous abuse, and at least one of their relatives had died by suicide. Continue reading

Biographical and Historical Background to Freud’s Schreber Case

The following was presented to the Lacan Circle of Melbourne in March, 2012. It may be of benefit to anybody who wishes to study the case:


The purpose of my discussion today will not be to provide a summary of Freud’s case study of Schreber, but rather, to find Schreber’s place within Freud’s work, and within psychoanalysis more generally. I shall do this by examining the background to Schreber’s memoirs, and then by elaborating upon the context of Freud’s case study. Time permitting, I shall look at the ongoing implications of the Schreber case, particularly from a Lacanian perspective.

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