I believe that analysis is not a puzzle but rather a mosaic, made not of pre-existing pieces for which there would be a predetermined place and whose arrangement would make a whole of good form, but rather made of pieces, splinters, tesserae that one keeps finding, cutting out, discarding or taking from the other in the transference, in order to compose a picture that is never complete, even when it is finished.
I will thus try to say a few things that might at times be contradictory. They don’t resolve any general question. Nor, I think, do they lend themselves to any deduction. They are small fragments that emerge in the time of elaboration in which I find myself. They will find their place in the mosaic that continues to create itself after the Pass.
My first analyst never took my contact details: neither my postal address nor my phone number. I fantasized many times about disappearing; he would not be able to get in touch with me; he would not know where to look for me; he would wonder whether I had died. For almost eight years I religiously attended sessions of fixed time. Three blocks from where I lived. Forty-five minutes each. A ritualized setting that fed my already excessive superego and mortified my body. The analyst’s stillness and silence often left me at the mercy of the muteness of the drive, of which I made myself the partner. I learned there that meaning does not only feed on words.
The analyst who allowed me to get out of that and to find a logical end to the experience of the unconscious of which I am the subject, moved around a lot. He too said very little. But he displaced his body incessantly. Frantically cutting up pieces of paper with sharp scissors or typing noisily on the keyboard. He took calls during sessions, he sometimes muttered things. There I learned that the silence was not of the Other.
Could I have continued living if he had not received me by phone every day when my mother and my brother suddenly died? I don’t know.
Could I have gone to the encounter of the good hole if he had not received me daily by Skype, holding his gaze on the screen, for more than a month, while I was traversing the most radical anguish at the time of the subjective destitution that opened up the way towards the end? I don’t think so.
However, I do believe that my analysis could not have come to its end if it had been “virtual”. Especially since the impulse towards the exit arose, as I transmitted in my first testimony, from the moment when I left my lighter on the analyst’s couch. There is no doubt that this could not have happened in a phone session or by video call. That small object left behind impresses the urgency that made me get on a plane to return, opening the door to the last s/cession.
The voice as object, as it came into play in my analysis – in its extraction and in its incorporation – is by no means the voice of communication. I will try to advance something on this in my next writing.
Without doubt, practice online or by phone exists. It is a fact. What status does it have? The questions that arise from this concern psychoanalysis as such, and not only that with which current circumstances confront us.
I think that what is at stake is, above all, how to find positions in the enunciation that go in the direction of what Lacan called well-saying and against those positions that the neuroses are always ready to feed: looking for explanations for what one does or fails to do; trying to obtain validation from the Other for what one does or doesn’t do; forcing the pegs to fit into the little holes to accommodate the real to reality…
It is a question of not disposing oneself too quickly to say what psychoanalysis is and what is not, ignoring the implication of a singular desire at the base of each act which, as such, has no guarantee. It is a matter of not supporting oneself on tradition, on signifiers frozen in the mouth of an authority, or on the dead knowledge of what has already been said, with the illusion of protecting psychoanalysis from its fantasized degradation.
Obviously when it comes to justifying one’s own practice as a means of earning a living, or in terms of its permanence in the market as one more of the objects offered for consumption, there the problem is different. And it concerns what we call the formation of the psychoanalyst.
Originally published in Zadig España, on April 11th. Available online.