How useful are Freud and Lacan’s ideas in the clinic? Part 1

The Clinical SITE is presenting a series of three interconnected workshops, facilitated by Philip Hill. This introductory series will explore how a Freudian or Lacanian approach differs from others, and will review different and popular clinical techniques and theories in widespread use today, including those of Jung and Klein, and their clinical consequences.

These radically different approaches to clinical work will be compared, looking in particular at their views of diagnosis, interpretation, working with transference and boundaries or limits.

Participants are asked to bring clinical material to share, including direct quotations from clients’ speech. The workshops assume no prior knowledge.


Workshop 1: Saturday 7th October

What are the differences between need, demand and desire, in and out of the clinic?

Why did Lacan distinguish between ‘the real, imaginary and symbolic’ and why are these useful categories?

Why are the differences between demand, love and desire vital to clinic work?

Why do men typically separate love and desire while women tend to conglomerate them, and what are the consequences for relationships and clinical work?

‘Need’, ‘demand’ and ‘desire’ are to some degree ambiguous ordinary language terms, but they take on special values in clinical work. Differentiating these key terms informs different theoretical and clinical techniques and is essential in allowing an ethical position to be taken by the clinician. What does the clinician’s desire have to do with his ‘ethics’?

What are the differences between ‘love’, ‘transference’ and ‘demand’? What is the relation of demand to desire, and how do shifts occur from demand to desire in childhood, and in clinical work?

How can a clinician distinguish his own transference, arising from his private life outside the clinic, from countertransference that is supposed to arise from the client’s transference?