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Guy Le Gaufey

Does this end of an analysis deserves to be

considered as an analytical problem ?
Two years before his death, Freud published Analysis terminable and interminable. It
came in the nick of time : a little longer, and he would bave left us without any warning about
this excruciating question : is any analysis to be considered as an adventure which holds its
end proper or, on the contrary, is every end of analysis an external event which would be out of
reach of any attemp of explaining it ?
Freud's answer in this text is clearly ambiguous : on one hand, he considers that any
experienced analyst will be able to remember a set of cases in which he took leave of his
patients on a long-term basis and rebus bene gestis (a latin expression which means :
everything went off smoothly). And he goes on writing : I don't intend to assert that an
analysis is in any case a work without conclusion (Abschluss).
Put on the other hand, he points out that, over all the resistances an analysis can
encounter, the castration rock is something in front of which every patient turns tail and, unlike
Ferenczi who had pretended that every patient had to get over it through his own capacity to
feel himself an equal of the analyst Freud simply wrote :
My own experience makes me able to add that I found Ferenczi
particularly demanding on this point. At no time during the analytical
process do we have such overwhelming a feeling of working hard and
uselessly than when we try to drive a woman to give up her penis envy,
or when we seek convincing men that their passive stance towards one
man has not always the signication of castration, and that can't be
avoided in every human relationship.
So the truth seems to be double, which is commonly understood in a very pragmatic
way : of course, an analysis doesn't know any end by itself since there is always something
unconscious to bring into light. Put otherwise, life is life, and even the best of it has to nish one
day or another, under the pressure of external events. Such a stance can be read, for instance,
in the statement of a previous president of the I.P.A., Serge Lebovici, who wrote : There is not
any analysis end ; there are only analyses which come to an end. This is a clear refusal to take
into account the analysis end as an analytical problem and, as realistic as this statement might
appear, I think it misses the point of what transference is.
I'd like to start with the following point, on which, I suppose, everyone will agree : every
analyst is supposed to be able to know when a treatrnent must not end. And this, not only
during the rst steps of an analysis, but as well after years and years of treatment. For instance,
if the patient proposes to stop right now in the sole intention to catch in the end, precisely, a
sign of love or hate from the analyst, the reply is simple : go on. The same if the alledged
reasons are only leaning on a therapeutic viewpoint : the better if the patient feels good, of
course, but if such a result was confused with an aim, or a goal, the whole undertaking would
prove to have been a therapy, and not an analysis.
And as much as analytical therapy and analysis might be close to each other in their
style, their theoretical apparatus and their treatment of symptoms, they show a decisive
difference in the treatrnent of desire, which rst depends on the positioning of the analyst's
desire, and secondly, leads to another understanding and treatment of transference itself. A
therapy is something in which patient and therapist agree (explicitly or not, I don't mind now) on
the fact that the aim of the treatment is to recover sort of health, no matter which way is taken to
reach it. 0f course, the beginnings of an analysis seem to present the same pattern : patients
want to get better, one way or another (and if they didn't, they certainly wouldn't be there). But
the point here is that the analyst keeps quiet on that matter because he knows that he then
doesn't know anything about what this request is made of, what kind of desire is implied in this
longing for health, what price has to be paid for the giving up of some symptoms, and he's not
very willing to sacrice his patient's desire, whatever it could be, to any of his patient's demand.
This slight difference between an agreement about a specied aim and, say, an assent
on a blank cheque, a mutual condence without any kind of contract, can be held as decisive
because it gives to the analyst's desire its unknown value ; the analyst clearly assents how
many times does he (or she) say Yes ! but yes to what ? That's the question which
deserves to be kept as a question because its central hole is really the sinews of transference,
the hub everything turns around. So, we can't agree, neither in the beginning nor in the end in
such a manner which would ll this place. In fact, everything coming from the analyst which
could do damage to this hole must be taken for an analyt's defense against the sheer
movement of transference. This doesn't mean that we never have anything to demand of the
patient : but that we must protect the mystery of this desire through all our demands (of words,
of money, of sessions), a mystery not only for them, but partly for us as well, according to each
The complexity of ending is now to appear : if everything is clear enough each time the
answer No is compelled, so that the only way is then to go on, when this negative reply stops
being right, we are not allowed to turn ourselves to a simple Yes. And furthermore, I don't
consider that we always have to say No to a demand to stop, or to be systematically and
silently disappointing in reaction to any kind of demand. So what ? What could this kind of
situation be, where a positive answer is no more available than a negative answer is
appropriate ? A beautiful stalemate, isn't it ?
But, by the way, what can this bloody matter of practice really be Freud was then talking
about when he wanted to tell us the key word on this matter ? Is that matter of practice to be
understood only in a pragmatic way, a sort of wise agreement between patient and analyst in
which the latter would take the lion's share ? But why or at least how would this usual
disparity between them suddenly break down ? Is this sort of equality what we actually have to
expect as the end of an analysis, as Ferenczi wished ? Let me tell you now a little story to show
what can come out of so nal en agreement.
You can read it in a book titled : In the Freud's Archives, where a journalist of the
american New Yorker Janet Malcom inquires about the Jeffrey Masson affair, after
Masson bas been red frorn his job as Freud's Archives secretary. Masson talks to her about
his own analysis. He had been very classically analysed for years, and some time after the end
of his sessions, he meets his former analyst in some room of the local analytical association he
then intended to belong to. And, in a sort of chat, he comes to say how transference can be a
funny thing : for instance, during all the years of his sessions, he strongly believed his analyst
was taller than him.
And he said, what are you talking about ? Andd I said, Well, just the
fact that I am taller than you. And he said, You taller than me ? You're
out of your mind ! And I said, Dr. V., I am taller than you, I assure you.
And he said Stand up and I stood up, and he stood up, and I towered
over him, and he looked me in the eyes from a good four inches
beneath me and said, Now, are you convinced that l'm taller than
you ? So to be polite, I said, Yes, I see. But I thought, This guy is out
of his mind.
This is a marvellous story, for truth is rarely as obvious in this world. As everyone can
read on pinball machines these pure inventions of democracy : lt's more fun to compete.
This is a very good pinball ethic, but freudien analysis is not foreseen for the next olympic
games in Atlanta, and we must seek another style of way out. Competition is indeed the
effective ground of equality, and even if the end of the last session can appear as a gentle
agreement between two civilized people, this view tells us nothing about what takes place in
this precise moment. If I clearly went to dismiss these kinds of pragmatic arguments based
upon an idea of equality, it is not because I think they are mere mistakes, but only that they
screen what's happening within the framework of transference. I do say within, and not at all
without ; that's the point.
If transference was nothing but a device, maybe it could be let aside as soon as it would
appear useless. But don't forget that this is the secret of symptoms : as much as they were very
useful when they helped to face a conict impossible to solve, once this conict has
disappeared from the stage, the symptom goes on. It never vanishes by itself only because its
cause has gone away. Why would transference go away as well once it is out of use ?
I don't want to rush right now into Lacan's words around this question, even if I feel
guided by the insights he gave us from his own long experience, since he pronounced himself
clearly on that matter only in his said Proposition du 9 octobre 1957, where he strongly
asserted that analysis is to be understood as holding its end proper. A lot of previous indications
and quotations can be given which go that way, but they are not as clear as in his attempt to set
up what it is now called in lacanian's circles la passe. Lacan needed to imagine a sort of
procedure to be able to assert that a way out of the analysis does exist, a very strange way out
since we are going to see it is also a way in, so that we'd better call it a turning point, and not an
end, if by this word we hear nothing but a sudden interruption of a line.
This conclusion that analysis and bas to be conceived as a turning point is based
upon a former idea, very wellknown in lacanian's circles, but very odd when you really went to
approach it : the only true analysis would be the training analysis. It sounds really curious if we
hear by that something like a medical statement which would say that the best treatrnent is only
to become a doctor. But we have already seen that if analysis can cure and if it can, it
must such a result, when it occurs, does not have to be held as an aim, or a goal ; therefore,
this kind of happy end, reached through transference, put it in a state that a freudian analyst
would be embarrassed to consider as an achievement proper, as far as he wants to differ from
an hypnotist. But, in fact, training analyses are not commonly considered as real patterns of
transference ending. Rather the contrary, when they feed the usual gossip between analysts
which criticize how little the neighbourgh is conscious of the identicational features he took
after his own analyst. So, what's really at stake in Lacan's assertion about training analysis as
the only true one ?
I bet that training analysis is the only kind of analysis in which transference can't be held
only as a device, a means, therefore the only one in which the turning point of analysis ending
is to be sought in a special step of our understanding of transference, an opportunity to catch
what could be essential in it.
Transference : birth and death.
The assumption that transference can die leans mainly on the mere fact that, sometimes,
we can attend its birth, taking part in it or not. It's possible to describe this moment in many
ways, but I'II go on keeping aside a little longer any psychoanalytical vocabulary.
What is obvious is the emergence of a movement of condence, sometimes very open,
sometimes not. But the question immediatly crops up again : what is condence made of ? If is
clear it's not a contractual thing, even if it is so often reciprocal, and so often present between
partners of all kinds of contracts. But condence, real condence, must be conceived as a two-
step movement :
in the rst step, you make sure that the man you then try to trust has some capacity to
carry your affair through to a successful conclusion. That means you verify that he possesses a
series of features you are willing to encounter ;
but this kind of inquiry, unlike analysis, can't be endless : an act must be engaged,
since condence is an act. And so, what follows has the sheer structure of a logical induction :
given the features a, b, c (and of course here there is not any and so on), I will or I won't trust
him ( or her), which means I will or I won't acknowledge the fact of : no more features. This is
a very classical obsessional difculty : how could I trust anyone if I can't know wether he will
have the right feature to face a situation I can't imagine by now ? Here, there is a gap, and
condence is a naming of this jump. I don't want to insist any longer because I think it's a very
common feeling.
But I want to emphasize that condence emerges only beyond narcissism, beyond the
collection of features narcissism is made of. That's the second step : after the rst step has
given you some narcissitic support through a nite set of features, you have to jump over the
nitude of this set to conclude by an act. The assumption that there would be one special
feature (or set of features) whose presence would be enough to make up your mind is
particularly specious, according to condence proper .
When I perfectly know what I expect from someone, I really needn't to trust him because I
feel perfectly able to judge if my expectancy will have been fullled. But in the case where the
aim is not so clear, when I can't rest on any image of the aim itself, condence is required, once
again beyond any narcissistic image.
If you agree, even a little, with this consideration, you engage a notion of transference
langer than an assumption strictly narcissistic. As far as narcissism is implied in transference
and it can very often appear as large as the latter it is not to be confused with it, and so we
can hold the idea that a non-narcissitic something is at stake in the emergence of a
transference. We are now to study if the destiny of this something wouldn't be the key problem
of analysis ending, at least if we accept to suppose that analysis ending has to be, through one
way or another, an ending of transference itself, which is a strict requirement for freudian
We must distinguish here between the use of transference as a lever, the possibility of
interpreting (of construing) through transference the key positions of the patient's libido, and the
perspective of analysis ending. To put it briey : as precious as the interpretation of transference
could be, this is by no means a way out of transference itself. And that for a very simple
reason : the one who interprets is not the same as the one who is the object of the
interpretation, even if the two of them deserve the qualier of analyst. The object of the
interpretation is necessarily a feature (or a set of features) while the interpreter goes on being a
voice or, at least, a place frorn which new words, new features can be expected. It is clear that
there won't be any ending without the mere loss of such an elaborative point, and that leads us
to specify our question in regard to ending.
If transference is really a movement of condence (even if denied), its ending is therefore
to be understood as a lack of condence, but not in the common sense that this condence
would collapse, that this analyst would reveal himself suddenly and denitely wrong and would
have to be abandoned. No, only in a very precise sense : this condence would be able to go
on without showing any sign of decreasing, so that we must hear a falling of a condence still
alive. And that's the problem we now have to treat, without forgetting that a condence still alive
relies on a non-narcissistic something, a sort of hole from which an indenite series of words,
of features, of interpretations could possibly come. The question of ending becomes then a
question about how and why stop the ood, given it won't dry out by itself.
What we've learnt from these considerations about transference and condence is the
place and the value of this something which is not to be confused with any feature. And notice
that this sort of place has always been classically attributed to the essential subject, to the
mystery of subjectivity, all that our traditions, more or less religious, like to call : presence.
Beyond the words in the prayer : presence. Beyond the draft and the colors of the icone :
presence. In the quiet silence of love, as well as in the harping on of hate : presence. This word
is a classical naming to signify that something has to be taken into account without any hope of
equating it to any quantity of words. That is what Pascal named the aws of the discurse, or
also the rst words, those for which it is denitely worthless to look for a denition. If someone
tells you, some day, that he doesn't understand what you mean by the word presence,
perhaps you will be lead to build a situation in which he could appreciate this meaning. For
instance, you will drive him just on the edge of a very high bluff and, with your amical push on
his back, he will certainly realize what presence means, especially because he will have to
face the emptiness itself, which is the best situation to realize what presence is, like in an empty
house, or any empty place. But don't try simply to put words after words to explain it : you would
let the problem aside.
But notice as well, now, that the lacanian assumption about the subject (represented by a
signier to another one) forbids us to locate this subject in this presence, for this subject is quite
nothing out of its representations and we cannot consider that it might be something
independantly of its representations. This sheer property of God must be left to God himself : if
He exists, He necessarily does without the help of representations because He possesses this
unique quality : an immediate presence to himself. With a little more time, I could show you that
this is an essential property of Newton's God, and that not only for theological reasons, but for
physical reasons as well ; such an immediate presence is strictly required to sustain a system in
which an absolute (time and space) is in constant contact with a relative world ; for an absolute,
whatever it is, can't be based upon something else, whereas our subject is a linked-subject,
inseparable and unthinkable out of its signiers.
So, don't let's be lead into this idea that this something crucial in condence and
therefore in transference, which is outside of any feature we could grasp and symbolize, should
be the hideout of the mystery of subjectivity that we are more or less used to calling : subject, I,
ego, agent, and so on..
What is still alive and is to be set aside to obtain a clear cut is therefore hard to think out
since we perhaps begin to understand that our knowledge is strictly encompassed within
narcissism, and that we will fail to articulate properly whatever we must consider as outside of
narcissism. It seems we have reached the bottom of a sort of cul-de-sac. So I propose to you
now to take another way of approaching the same point, but from a different topic.
The drive's two faces.
Since his very beginnings in that matter I mean his Three Essays on the Theory of
Sexuality (1905) Freud understood through the german term of Trieb something double,
something impossible to reduce to a sheer unity because it has to be thought of as a two-faced
thing : one face is made of a Triebreprsentanz (or, the same, a Vorstellungsreprsentanz), that
is close to what I called a feature (or yet a signier), a symbolic mark which belongs,
according to Freud's terms, to the psychycal apparatus ; the other face is more obscure, but
must be conceived as coming from a place both inside the body, and outside the same
psychical apparatus. This so-called quota of affect, now a psychical energy, now a somatic
force, is strictly out of any system of representation, and that's what this concept of Trieb is
made up for : to point out that, in fact a welding (eine Verltung) takes place which deserves to
be named drive, and is compound of a signier, an indescribable affect and (all I want here to
mean depends on the weight you will give to that and), and a welding between them.
This point is decisive because it is one of the main ones which prevents analysis from
being an idealistic system : something of the body proper is trapped, is linked, is associated
with a symbolic feature and, according to Freud's words, after this welding, its destiny from now
on will have to follow part of the destiny of this symbolic feature, which plays a completely
different game on a completely different stage.
Perhaps you can see now what I am getting at : the next question we must answer to get
any follow-up is : is this quota of affect predictable or unpredictable in itself ? If I say anything
about it, is it to be considered as already linked and welded to a symbolic feature, or not ? It is
not that easy to answer because, on the one hand, we feel that affects in themselves are not
always the same, that there does exist a palette of different tonalities ; but on the other hand,
it's as clear as day that, when we speak of, say, a depressive affect, or an anxious affect, we
are completly engaged in the symbolic world. 0ld problem, that we are not going to solve right
now. I would only draw your attention to the fact that if you take the way of distinguishing affects
in themselves, as if independantly of the symbolic order, you are on the way towards dissolving
the freudian notion of fantasy.
Fantasy has been conceived by Freud in the same way as drive : it is said to be eine
Verltung, a welding no longer between a somatic force and an instinctual representative
but, very close to that, between an auto-erotic satisfaction and a mnemic symbol (which can be
part of a remembrance or not, as Freud shows in his Leonardo's). This satisfaction does not
have to be more qualied, but must be thought apart of the psychical apparatus. For instance,
in the Freud-Jung letters where this notion of autoe-erotism is clearly established, Freud didn't
hesitate to assert that masturbation is an allo-erotic act because it brings necessarily into play
the symbolic face of a fantasy ; and, on the contrary, autoe-erotism must be thought of as free
of any necessary link with the symbolic order, up to its capture by a symbolic mark. But notice
that, from a formalist viewpoint, Freud was compelled at rst to set apart symbolic order and
autoe-erotism to be able, in a second time, to weld them.
l'd like now to join these two kinds of considerations : the one which puts into play the
very ground of condence as requiring a bodily element ; the other which articulates this part
inside the body and outside the psychical apparatus as a sort of root of the symbolic order. I
think these two very different parts come together according to the destiny of fantasy inside the
framework of transference. The bodily element (which still means something irreducible to a
symbolic feature) on which the game of transference has run (and is still running), and this part,
which ballasts the set of representations acting in fantasy, converge to shape a crease, or a
fold, or a pleat on which I am going to conclude.
The transferencial plexus.
The rst idea we can encounter here is that this place is neither inside nor outside.
This duality is practicable up to the point where we couldn't help thinking that the two of them do
have a common border, a sort of line which could allow us to know in each case if we are
inside or outside, in the internal and mental world, or in the external and physical
world. Numerous parts of Freud's writings go that way, which was considerebly emphasized by
Melanie Klein and others l'd like to call the mentalists. But even in Freud's, when we really pay
attention to the constraints at stake in his theory, there is never such a subject, even if he tried
to be an honest associationnist in the style of Locke, Stuart Mill, and so on. This part both inside
and outside is stricty inevitable and the metaphor of welding as precious as it could be is
unable to explain us the link it performs. It lets aside the embarrassing question of : from where
comes the third materiel used for welding ? What kind of glue is required here ? To answer that
would bring us into too long-drawn-out a metaphor, so I prefer to suggest to you another gure,
this gure of a pleat which has the advantage of presenting a continuity and a discontinuity.
But let's clarify rst the crossing I suppose to be between the bodily element of fantasy
and the non-narcissistic something at stake in condence and transference. This crossing can
be such because of the analyst's body, strictly speaking : his (or her) physical body, with only
one restriction. Not as a whole, not as a unity (this is the narcissistic side of all the affair), but as
this pound of esh Shakespeare has marvelously invented to guide us through this dark
Remember the crucial point of the play : Portia recognizes Shylock's right to take from the
poor Antonio this pound of esh which is his in the terms proper of their initial contract. He is
pushed by Portia to frankly carry out his rights, this same Portia who comes to say to Antonio :
You must prepare your bosom for his knife. Only the conditions of the contract itself appear to
make this act simply impossible to perform. Shylock is entitled to a pound of esh but not one
ounce more ; and of course not a single drop of Christian blood. This is not only a device to stay
in a comedy : it is a very precise information about what a clear cut is. Shylock is recognized in
his right to cut, but this cutting is not there to give shape to any object of this world which
Shylock could possibly leave the Court with. And so, the pound is not at all a symbolic pound
of esh ; at that place, there is a common mistake, dangerous for analysts only. This pound is
impossible to separate because it is an imaginary pound, which must remain such, and it
doesn't become symbolic because of its impossibility. It stays imaginary. And Shylock saves
his life through becoming able to make some difference between the act of cutting (which is his)
and any object which could be a result of such an act. He is the one who has the right to cut
this denes him as subject of the law but he has to discover more : what he must lose to
become such a subject of the law : his wealth, the reality of his wealth. The cutting makes the
division between the imaginary pound (whose value would have been, if effective, close to
zero), and the real of his wealth (close to that we could call his all-phallic power).
This wealth can be called real not because we would be led to suppose he was rich, but
only because the play needs to locate there the inescapable loss. The symbolic equivalence
between the pound of esh and the weight of his wealth mustn't hide from us the slight and
decisive difference between an imaginary lack and a real loss, a difference whose agent is
always a symbolic mark.
Condence has been based upon a lack lack of features, I said. As Columbus' egg,
the analysis ending is made up of a loss. It's clear for everyone. But how to pass from a lack to
a loss ? From a lack full of hope to a loss able to make ground for the subject ? The operator is,
certainly, the ability of the analyst to have given sense to a lot of unconcious gures, to point out
some keys signiers, but the question of ending will remain out of his eld of conciousness if he
doesn't feel the part of the affair he will have been embodying, and which is always linked to his
patient's instinctual life, to drives themselves. He will have been breast, or shit, or regard, or
voice ; exactly, he will have been lack of it, till he comes to be loss of it and, in this precise
moment of ending, real at this only title.
Lacan drew our attention on the fact that these parts of body are not to be taken in a
symbolic way. For instance, in his seminar of 24th of June 1964, he said :
The anaIyst, it's not enough if he supports the function of Tiresias. He
needs to have breast (or teats) " (What Tiresias had, naturally, for having
been a woman and a man).
And Lacan didn't mean by this that there are only female analysts. Likewise, he sort of
joked many times about the fact that analysts have always been quick to realize that they were
shit ; but unfortunately, he added, they didn't realize how much it wasn't a metaphor. And these
remarks were not only for fur.
The instant of ending is such a point, when the analyst agrees to take that place where a
lack which, for years and years, has sustained the whole work, is going to be a loss, and as so :
real. And my nal question will be : what can such an agreement be ? Who could be able to
recognize through words that he is made of a loss ? I will answer, once again with the help of
another Shakespeerean hero, Richard the second, the king who was compelled to disembody
himself from kingship. When the real question arises, when Bolingbroke asks him : Are you
contented to resign the crown ?, Richard's wonderful reply, with its pleat made of a huge
homophony between the expected Yes (Ay) and the subject (I) supposed to be able to
articulate it, is nothing but a ash of genius :
Ay, no ; no, ay, for I must nothing be
Therefore no no , for I resign to thee...