1st Edition

Against Understanding, Volume 2 Cases and Commentary in a Lacanian Key

By Bruce Fink Copyright 2014
    296 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    290 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    Against Understanding, Volume 2, casts a spotlight on the status of case studies in psychoanalysis, which are commonly used to illustrate clinicians’ expertise and mastery rather than patients’ actual itineraries. When a case is presented, the complex, unwieldy, and often self-contradictory material of a therapeutic trajectory is often vastly oversimplified in view of producing a linear narrative that seems perfectly to fit the parameters of a practitioner’s preferred theoretical framework.

    Bruce Fink attempts to eschew the appearance of "mastery" in assembling clinical material and in discussing his approach to practice and theory in the myriad case histories and vignettes included in both Volumes 1 & 2 of Against Understanding. To counterbalance the kind of paring down of material usually carried out to make cases conform to a particular paradigm, the case write-ups presented here include much of the "raw data" so often omitted: verbatim quotes from patients about their lives, backgrounds, dreams, and fantasies; and details about the many obscure, vacillating, and unruly phases of treatment. Fink hopes thereby to allow readers to form their own opinions about the well-foundedness or unsoundness of his formulations, interpretations, and interventions.

    This second part of a two-volume collection of papers, interviews, and case studies provides the reader with hundreds of illustrations of Lacanian theory in practice, and will be essential for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and counselors.

    Contents. Preface. Acknowledgments. Commentary. On Clinical Practice. 1. Analysand and Analyst in the Global Economy, or Why Anyone in their Right Mind Would Pay for an Analysis. 2. What’s So Different about Lacan’s Approach to Psychoanalysis? 3. Fantasies and the Fundamental Fantasy: An Introduction. 4. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis. 5. Why Diagnose? A Few Reflections on Diagnosis. On Reading Lacan. 6. An Introduction to Lacan’s Seminar XVIII: D’un discours qui ne serait pas du semblant. 7. Lacan on Personality from the 1930s to the 1950s. 8. An Introduction to "Kant with Sade". 9. Freud and Love on Love: A Preliminary Exploration. On Translation. 10. The Task of Translation. Cases. 11. In the Wake of Medea: A Case of Obsession from a Lacanian Perspective. 12. The Role of Semblance in "Identity" Construction. 13. The Freud Man and the Fundamental Fantasy. 14. Contours of Trauma. Critique. 15. Interview: Lacan in America (Loren Dent). 16. Interview: A Few Words with the Editors of MonoKL. 17. Violence in Psychoanalysis. References. Index.


    Bruce Fink is a practicing Lacanian psychoanalyst and analytic supervisor in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He trained as a psychoanalyst in France for seven years with—and is now a member of—the psychoanalytic institute Lacan created shortly before his death, the École de la Cause Freudienne in Paris. He is also an affiliated member of the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Society and Institute.

    "In this important book, Bruce Fink shows with characteristic elegance and thoughtfulness how Lacanian psychoanalysis is no mere intellectual abstraction but a real and powerful framework for clinical practice."

    Darian Leader, Psychoanalyst, Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research, London, UK

    "Bruce Fink provides us here with an impressive exploration of the Lacanian approach to psychoanalysis, in which the epistemic specificity of psychoanalysis starting with Freud is never forgotten. The clarity and the alertness of the style, the numerous and always instructive clinical cases, and the enlightening commentaries on difficult texts, provide easy access to the most complex and controversial topics: the effectiveness of speech, the pathways of interpretation, semblance, and the aims of treatment as regards desire, jouissance, love, violence, and even … men and women!"

    Colette Soler, The School of the Forums of the Lacanian Field, Paris, France

    "Bruce Fink is arguably the foremost commentator and interpreter of Jacques Lacan’s work in the United States today, and the publication of a new set of commentaries and case vignettes by him foregrounding the principles of Lacanian practice is thus something of an event for practitioners in the field…Against Understanding provides us with perhaps the best practical sourcebook to Lacanian theory and practice that we currently have. It is often said of the good analyst that he or she knows how to keep the patient talking. The two volumes of Bruce Fink’s Against Understanding evince a different skill: they keep the reader reading."

    Derek Hook, Psychodynamic Practice