I’ve always been slightly suspicious about the Freudian tendency to read meaning into everything. You see hidden meanings and get paid for it and you’re an analyst, you do it for free and you’re psychotic.
I suspect this is why there’s so little psychoanalytic work on psychosis, the infinite regress of hidden meanings would probably cause a dimensional rift and the universe would collapse.
4 thoughts on “Psychosis and psychoanalysis”
I completely agree. It’s eerily similar to a religious perspective of life, always seeking some higher meaning to everything, and explaining the random circumstances of life through divination. I can easily see psychoanalsysis getting out of hand.
Yes, yes, you make a good point here about the context in which various shifts in perspective occur and are received.
Left temporal lobe epilepsy, shamanism and schizophrenia. Other aspects of this that come to mind.
Perhaps we should incorporate academia into mental health institutions and grant credit for people’s write-ups of how they progress.
But that would entail a paradigm shift / dimensional rift of another kind.
This may be apocryphal, but supposedly James Joyce, commenting on his daughter’s schizophrenia, drew a contrast between the psychotic thought process and the artistic one as similar to the difference between drowning in the current and swimming in it. It seems to me that is the difference between psychotic and psychoanalytic meaning-making.
People have a tendency to be VERY speculative about psychoanalysis, and this discussion is a perfect example. The comparison you attempt to draw between psychosis and psychoanalysis couldn’t be more ficticious. Aswell as this there has been much work done on psychosis, the most succesful being from the Lacanian school.
The way psychoanalysis functions with a non-psychotic case is by mining already present meanings from the patients unconcious which is presumed to have a definitive (relatively) stable “structure”.
The way it functions in the case of a psychotic is to attempt to REBUILD this structure (which is virtually non-existent in the psychotic) by tieing NEW meaning to various aspects of the patients world in order for them to perceive something other than a terrifying void.
So while psychoanalysis attempts to trace webs of meaning throughout the unconcious (from past experiences etc.) psychotics attempt to tie meaning to random occurances and events in order to attempt to comprehend their unfathomable universe. Due to this, it is believed by many Lacanian practitioners, that conventional or “ego” psychology can have deeply negative results with psychotics, causing psychotic breaks etc. due to their lack of understanding of the psychotic (lack of) structure.