‘A Question of Training’ by Chris Oakley

Why would anyone assume that some spurious competancy was lacking as an effect of his heroic resistance? Because of a refusal to identify, to submit to an identificatory indoctrination, is that what is at stake?

But this leads onto another area of any training: the seminars and the transmission of knowledge. It might appear that I am engaged in a case of special pleading for Derrida, precisely as an effect of what I have claimed is an unrivalled knowledge of psychoanalysis. Possibly, for quite unequivocally it is Not my position that anything goes or that no special knowledge is necessary. Necessary but not sufficient. But we are still left with the question as to what is this knowledge? What is there to understand? Do we valorise certain knowledge above other knowledge? How can we tell? Freud was much more explicit about this arena of requirement. Again note a stretch that runs from a more restrictive, prescriptive nuancing to something far more expansive, expansionist. At certain points (see his letter to Groddeck) it is as if an understanding of the focal points of therapy: transference and resistance, that transference is one of the forms of resistance for example, would suffice for membership of the club. But he was also capable of being very wide ranging in his vision of what was required. In his “The question of Lay Analysis” (1926 Standard Edition 20 p250) he reiterated that inevitably “depth psychology…(which) remains the principal subject”, but he also saw a knowledge of biology, of the ‘science of sexual life’, of the symptomatology of psychiatry, as necessary, and more besides. “The history of civilisation, mythology…religion and the science of literature” are Freud’s suggestions, but Lacan weighed in with this “Psychoanalysis … is not reducible to medicine, psychology, sociology, science, ethnology, mythology, communications theory, linguistics…but must draw on knowledge of them all.” I begin to wonder what it is that one doesn’t need to know; only that which “has no direct bearing on the practise of analysis” according to Freud. Indeed so much seems to be called for that it begins to look as if my concern about my suitablity wasn’t so neurotic after all. Freud acknowledged that this was an ideal… “no doubt, but an ideal which can and must be reached.” He intoned. But however much psychoanalysis might appear to pay tribute to this ideal of some ongoing dialogue with other discourses, other disciplines, is there not a constant tendency to pull up the drawbridge, retreat to a form of splendid isolation whenever the going gets rough, all marinated in the standard line of defence: the other is invalidated because of a lack of clinical experience.