1st Edition

Lacanian Psychotherapy Theory and Practical Applications

By Michael J. Miller Copyright 2011
    248 Pages
    by Routledge

    246 Pages
    by Routledge

    The work of Jacques Lacan is associated more with literature and philosophy than mainstream American psychology, due in large part to the dense language he employs in articulating his theory – including  often at the expense of clinical illustration. As a result, his contributions are frequently fascinating, yet their utility in the therapeutic setting can be difficult to pinpoint. Lacanian Psychotherapy fills in this clinical gap by presenting theoretical discussions in clear, accessible language and applying them to several chapter-length case studies, thereby demonstrating their clinical relevance. The central concern of the book is the usefulness of Lacan's notion that the unconscious is structured like and by language. This concept implies a peculiar manner of listening ("to the letter") and intervention, which Miller applies to a number of common clinical concerns – including  including case formulation, dreams, transference, and diagnosis – including  all in the context of real-world psychotherapy.


    Introduction: Another Psychoanalysis. Shattering Discourse to Bring Free Speech. Evidence and Psychotherapy: A History of Case Histories. Strength in Letters. Aggressiveness in Psychotherapy. Organa Non-Grata. Che Vuoi? The Letter and the Desire of the Other. Conclusions.


    Michael J. Miller, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University, New York, USA and an adjunct professor at Syracuse University, USA. He has been published in The Humanistic Psychologist as well as Lacan and Addictions (Karnac, 2011), and has presented to groups of psychoanalytic clinicians on clinical applications of Lacan.

    "Therapists of all persuasions will relish Michael Miller's lucid, beautifully written discussion of the use of Lacan's work in clinical practice. Targeting topics of concern to the widest range of practitioners – including insight, opening up of 'potential space,' transference, countertransference, gender, and power dynamics – he provides word-for-word transcripts of interactions with his clients that beautifully illustrate a Lacanian approach to listening and interpreting that can be applied in a great many therapeutic settings, using theory to illuminate – but never overshadow – the case material. The level of detail provided in his case studies is unrivaled. A fabulous achievement!" - Bruce Fink, Duquesne University, Pennsylvania, USA

    "This is an excellent introduction to Lacanian clinical practice, written for the general clinician/psychotherapist who is beginning to consider the field of Lacanian psychoanalysis. Despite the focus being psychotherapy rather than psychoanalysis, the book approaches the scope of analytical experience and provides an abundance of clinical material which should be of great help to the psychotherapist not familiar with the intricacies of Lacanian theory and practice. All in all this is a well-written and insightful book that was a joy to read." - Raul Moncayo, Supervising Analyst of the Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis, and author, Evolving Lacanian Perspectives for Clinical Psychoanalysis

    "My psychotherapy training was not Lacanian and I have struggled to make sense of what it might mean to be informed by Lacan. Miller’s book, written by a psychotherapist who regards the relationship as core to any therapy, is a significant contribution to understanding the clinical value of Lacan. Had this book been available earlier, my struggles would have been eased." - Dr Steve Nolan, Therapy Today, December 2011

    Michael Miller's book is one of the first to apply Lacan to psychotherapy. ... Miller most adroitly utilises Lacanian ideas to think about the patients in front of him, while concentrating on their speech and discourse 'to the letter', as he tries to make sense of their struggles and distress. The case discussion approach allows us to see a thoughtful and serious psychotherapist at work, without having to be familiar with Lacanian ideas beforehand. This is not just a good book about what a Lacanian approach to psychotherapy might entail, it is also just a good book on psychoanalytic psychotherapy. - Grahame Hayes, Psycho-analytic Psychotherapy in South Africa, Vol. 21(1) 2013

    "Part of what is so refreshing about Miller's book is that while he is very clear on the rationale and motivations behind various Lacanian psychotherapeutic strategies, he remains nonetheless open to forms of dialogue with other approaches."- Derek Hook, Theory and Psychology, May 2015