The therapeutic effect of inexact interpretation : a contribution to the theory of suggestion : October 1931 : Edward Glover

by Julia Evans on October 1, 1931

Published in The International Journal of Psycho–Analysis Vol XII, October 1931, Part 4

Available here

Reference to Freud

Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego : 1921 : Sigmund Freud

Engagement by Jacques Lacan:

This paper was commented on by Jacques Lacan in Seminar V, The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis : 26th September 1953, The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power : 13th July 1958 and Seminar XIV. Lacan’s comments address the problem of the therapeutic effects of inexact interpretationLinks and quotes are given below.

The following is edited from HOw SIgnIfICAnT IS THE COnCEPT Of InEXACT InTERPRETATIOn fOR THE PSyCHOAnALyTIC CLInIC? : 13th June 2015 : by Monika kobylarska : Available here

Seminar V : 18th June 1958

Jacques Lacan described Edward Glover’s article The Therapeutic Effect of Inexact Interpretation: A Contribution to the Theory of Suggestion as ‘one of the most remarkable and most intelligent articles which could be written on such a subject’, and in which he added that ‘it is really in fact the starting base from which the question of interpretation can be approached.’

Seminar V : 18th June 1958 : p339 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation. See Seminar V : The Formations of the Unconscious : 1957-1958 : begins 6th November 1957 : Jacques Lacan or here for further information.

The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis (Rome) : 26th September 1953

He agrees with Glover that non-analytic approaches

can have the precise impact of interventions that could be qualified as obsessive systems of suggestion, as hysterical suggestions of a phobic nature, and even as persecutory supports (…) For not only is every spoken intervention received by the subject as function of his structure, but the intervention itself takes on a structuring function due to its form.

See The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis (Rome) : 26th September 1953 : Jacques Lacan or here : p64 of the Anthony Wilden translation

The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power:10th-13th July 1958

Although, according to Lacan, in The Direction of the Treatment… what Glover seemed to miss was the concept of the ‘function of the signifier’ and the ‘importance of the signifier in locating analytic truth.’[p9 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation] Lacan criticises Glover for recognising interpretation in everything that is understood exactly or inexactly and compares this view of interpretation to a ‘phlogiston [Phlogiston – a hypothetical substance once believed to be present in all combustible materials and to be released during burning] (…) providing that it feeds the flame of the imaginary.’[p10 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation] Lacan reminds us that the essence of interpretation is its effect, as ‘the signifier effects the advent of the signified, which is the only conceivable way that interpretation can produce anything new.’ [p10 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation]

See The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power:10th-13th July 1958 : Jacques Lacan or here for information.

Seminar XIV : 21st June 1967

In his seminar on The Logic of Phantasy Lacan agrees with Glover that if interpretation completely eliminates the dimension of truth it is merely suggestion. Here Lacan makes a very interesting point related to ‘the eventual fruitfulness’ of non-analytic incorrect interpretation, namely that ‘incorrect does not mean that it is false’ and he explains that inexact interpretation ‘has nothing to do with what is at stake at that moment, in terms of truth,’ but he reminds us on the same page that ‘the truth rebels’ and that ‘however inexact it might be one has all the same tickled something.’ Seminar XIV : 21st June 1967 : p267 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation.

See Seminar XIV: The logic of phantasy: 1966-1967: begins 16th November 1966 : Jacques Lacan : Information here

A further reference is in Interpreting Psychosis from Day to Day : October 2005 : Éric Laurent: Details here

Further texts:

By Edward Glover here

By Jacques Lacan here

On interpretation:

Interpretation and Truth : 1st July 1994 : Éric Laurent or here

Greek Tragedy: Problems of Interpretation & Discussion: 21st October 1966: Jean-Pierre Vernant or here