The Body That We Have and the Unconscious of the Psychoanalyst”, by Pierre-Gilles Guéguen


If we follow the last Lacan, the body that one has is the result of the incorporation of the symbolic, and produces the sinthôme. In other words, this is what happens to the symptom when the analysis has been carried as near as possible to the disappearance of the Other. The jouissance that one has of one’s body, beyond meaning (“outside of meaning”, as it is often said), results from a real mark that comes from the first words that have wounded the body of flesh and which have left on it their trace; there is no body but also no unconscious without the language that parasitizes the human being. Analysis often proves to be a very long path, and what allows one to get through it is transference and the effects of truth that it produces in the treatment.

The psychoanalyst without an unconscious would be someone without a body, but that is impossible. This is why Lacan wanted psychoanalysts, as much as possible, to be alleviated of the sexual meaning, which is always threatening to take over, in such a way so as not to be encumbered in his or her act that is done not thinking. This is indicated very often in Lacan’s teaching: “I am not, where I am the plaything of my thought; I think about what I am where I do not think I am thinking.”(1) This is one of the many and various repetitions of the Freudian formula “Wo Es war, soll ich warden”.

This is why supervision, or control, of the position of the analyst proves necessary. Often I have noticed that the temptation to take care of, if not to cure, the one who is engaged in the psychoanalytic experience gets in the way of the direction of the treatment. Often this is also true of those who come to talk to me about their patients. To want what is good for the analysand, to wish the “analysis to progress”, as it is often said, is, paradoxically in many cases, in opposition to the therapeutic effects that can, however, effectively occur in analytical work as a result of the desire of the one who lends him or herself to the experience of the unconscious.

Pierre-Gilles Guéguen

Translated by Janet Haney

(1) Lacan, J., Écrits, transl. B. Fink, Norton, New York/London, 2006, p. 430.