Relieve Anxiety? : December 2003 : Éric Laurent

by Julia Evans on December 1, 2003

Translated by Thelma Sowley

Published :

P6 to 14 of Mental Online: International Journal of Mental Health & Applied Psychoanalysis : No 13: December 2003: The Therapeutic Use of Psychoanalysis

Available here


Relieve Anxiety?

Anxiety anchored by the symptom

Anxiety fixed by the fantasy

The transference work

Unanchored anxiety

The deposit of letters in abeyance

A new homeostasis

Availability of references


Texts by Anna Freud here

Texts by Melanie Klein here


Quote : Lacan renders clear the evolutions in the Freudian theory of anxiety. From the first studies of anxiety neurosis up to Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety, anxiety is the presence of the desire of the Other as such. : Inhibitions, Symptoms & Anxiety : 1926d : Sigmund Freud : See Sigmund Freud’s texts available electronically  or here

Quote : Lacan shows, in his rereading of the cases of Dora and the Rat Man, that Freud interpreted on the spot, especially anxiety. : Fragment of an analysis of a case of hysteria (‘Dora’) : 1901 : Sigmund Freud & Notes upon a case of Obsessional Neurosis (The ‘Rat Man’) :1909d: Sigmund Freud: Standard Edition: Vol 10: p155 or Penguin Freud Library (PFL) : Vol 9 : p31

Quote : In this sense, “relieving anxiety” is coherent with the orientation given in the “Direction of the Cure,” a text published at the beginning of the 1960s : See The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power:10th-13th July 1958 : Jacques Lacan or here 


Quote : no more than in the light of the dream “Father, don’t you see that I’m burning?” : From The Interpretation of Dreams: 1st November 1899 (published as 1900): Sigmund Freud : See here


Quote : It is at this point that the transference work [travail de transfert] – since this is how Lacan once translated the Freudian Durcharbeitung : p254 of Bruce Fink’s translation of  The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis (Rome) : 26th September 1953 : Jacques Lacan or here : (This is the reference on p254 as quoted, and may not be correct. It has not been possible to find this in The Direction of the Treatment, as quoted in Footnote 2, page 10) Quote from p94 of Alan Sheridan’s translation : In fact, this illusion that impels us to seek the reality of the subject beyond the language barrier is the same as that by which the subject believes that his truth is already given in us and that we know it in advance; and it is moreover as a result of this that he is wide open to our objectifying intervention.

But for his part, no doubt, he does not have to answer for this subjective error which, whether it is avowed or not in his discourse, is immanent in the fact that he has entered analysis, and that he has already concluded the original pact involved in it. And the fact that we find in the subjectivity of this moment the reason for what can be called the constituting effects of the transference- in so far as they are distinguished by an index of reality from the constituted effects that succeed them – is all the more ground for not neglecting this subjectivity.

Freud, let it be recalled, in touching on the feelings involved in the transference insisted on the need to distinguish in it a factor of reality. He concluded that it would be an abuse of the subject’s docility to want to persuade him in every case that these sentiments are a mere transferential repetition of the neurosis. Consequently, since these real feelings manifest themselves as primary and since the charm of our own persons remains a doubtful factor, there would seem to be some mystery here.

But this mystery becomes clarified if it is viewed within the phenomenology of the subject, in so far as the subject constitutes himself in the search for truth.

Quote : but rather of playing on what Lacan calls “the margin of exteriorization of the object a.” : J. Lacan, “Discours de clôture aux journées sur l’enfance aliénée,” : published Autres Écrits: 2001 : Jacques Lacan : See here   : from Address on Child Psychosis (Maison de la Chimie, à Paris ) : 22nd October 1967 : Jacques Lacan : See here : Quote from Adrian Price’s translation : The worth of psychoanalysis is that it operates on the fantasy. Its degree of success has demonstrated that here is judged the subjecting form, as neurosis, perversion or psychosis.

Hence the postulate that, in simply sticking to this, the fantasy forms reality’s frame: self-evidently!

And furthermore, it is impossible to budge, were it not for the margin left by the possibility of an exteriorisation of the object a.

They will tell us that this is exactly what they speak about when they use the term “partial object”.

But, precisely in presenting it under this term, they are already saying too much to be able to say anything that can add up to very much.

If it was as easy as that to speak about, we would call it something else besides object a.

An object that requires us to reconsider the whole discourse on the cause is not destined to assignation, even theoretically.

In French see :

Discours de clôture des journées sur les psychoses : 22nd October 1967 (Paris) : Jacques Lacan : Available here

& Note suite au discours de clôture pour les psychoses : 26th September 1968 : Jacques Lacan : Available here


Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst, Earl’s Court, London


Other texts

By Éric Laurent here

Seminar X: The Anxiety (or Dread): 1962-1963: begins 14th November 1962: Jacques Lacan: Text in English & References : See here

Reading Seminar X here

Case histories here

On Lacanian History here

Use of power here

Lacanian Transmission : here

Topology : here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud : here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here