Reflecting on anxiety has evidently led our contributors into profound structural and existential questions about the very nature of psychoanalysis and our own humanity, both analyst and analysand. Haya Oakley, in The Site tradition of forging a dialogue between psychoanalysis and philosophy, looks to Heidegger’s concept of Being-Towards-Death and the resultant anxiety which, according to him, is the only authentic response. She explores the way in which this kind of anxiety may be manifest in the consulting room in the presentations of a hysteric, an obsessional and a psychotic subject. Outwardly so different, here her paper and that of Paul Verhaeghe closely resemble one another in delineating this dance around the void. They also share an analysis of the nature and function of psychoanalysis itself. Oakley asks probing questions about the purpose of analysis. Casting doubt on an easy conclusion that the analyst can assume authenticity by simple self-disclosure, as is sometimes set out in relational schools of psychoanalysis, she advocates a much more radical and complex agenda. In truth, both parties share a common humanity, but we do a disservice to our analysands if we locate ourselves too much in that place of similarity and commonality. Down that road lies interminable analysis. Oakley does not offer definitive answers, as befits her methodology of course! But she does offer a schema of what such an engagement looks like.
It seems fitting that in an issue compiled in memory of the whole life and work of someone who was a psychoanalyst along with many other things, and one who always herself raised questions about the operation of analysis, we should be brought into this territory. Kirsty’s life and activities touched the lives of so many and on so many different levels. She leaves a legacy that will be an enduring one, but most importantly in the projects she started and left for us to continue.
Freud, S. (1916–17) Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis 25: Anxiety S.E London, Hogarth Press
Hall, K. (2007) The Stuff of Dreams: Fantasy, Anxiety and Psychoanalysis London, Karnac Books
Lacan, J. [1962–3] The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book X Anxiety trans. A. Price 2014 Malden MA, Polity Press