The Three Structures of Psychoanalysis

What is psychoanalysis? Is it important to know its significance and structures? In the field of psychoanalysis, the main representatives are Freud and Lacan who introduced important theories and techniques about the human psyche and the exploration of the unconscious. The diagnosis is an integral part of treatment and starts from the first sessions so that the situation of each individual can be determined more clearly. In this article we will discover how the diagnosis of Freud’s and Lacan’s psychoanalysis differs from that of psychiatric reasoning. Then, we will study the three structures we encounter in psychoanalysis.

Initially, in the field of psychiatry, after the phenomena are emphasized by the description of the patient’s symptoms, the doctor according to the DSM proceeds to diagnosis and application of the treatment. In contrast to psychoanalysis, the patient’s condition is taken into account, something that is impossible to explain as a theory. So the main meaning of Freud and Lacan’s diagnosis is the divided subject, which is transformed into what it is thanks to language which helps the subject to form a mental structure. According to psychoanalysts, the subject must be structured, while language is in itself a structure that is inherent in the newborn. So when the child uses it and can speak, it acquires its own mental organization. 

The subject can therefore be organized in different ways through three structures: the nerve, the psychosis and the perversion. The subjects are determined by their relation to “«Other»” subjects, which comes suddenly, sometimes from the person who is being analyzed, sometimes from the analyst in the context of psychoanalysis. These three structures use different mechanisms in relation to each «Other», desire and enjoyment. The desire of neurotic subjects is always the desire of the «Other» and stems from a feeling of lack. Although the neurotic subject does not know exactly what it is missing and then succumbs to a vicious circle where the «Other», who is also lacking, is characterized as “guarantor”. Lacan was the first to introduce «Object A», where it identifies the object of lack and not the object of the desire; the lack pushes the subject to desire and to be the “object-cause” of the desire. The neurotic pleasure is the state of unsatisfied, which leads the individual to speak and express various complaints to the analysts, asking them to enter his position, which Lacan considers as wrong because only the person analyzed is the one who must explore the depths of his psyche. The basic mechanism applied to this structure is repulsion; the defense mechanism that allows the individual to store his desires and fantasies in the subconscious.

On the other hand, the psychotic form differs from the neurotic one, because there is a certainty and the subject knows the existence of the «Other». Lacan identifies as “the name of Father” the function of the «Other» to “guarantee” the lack, but in case of psychotic it seems that there is no “guarantee” and the lack cannot be guaranteed, resulting in a vacuum which in turn is called “Forclusion” and composes the mechanism of the structure. Also, the psychotic does not perceive the “Object A” as an object of lack, on the contrary he is convinced that he has been conquered by it and that leads us to the conclusion that he does not desire due to lack, like the neurotic, but he desires despite the fact that lack is not guaranteed. Sometimes the psychotic tries to create the lack on his own in order to desire but he does not put it in the right place and this can have negative consequences, such as a suicide. In the psychotic structure the individual does not rely on the “Other” to establish himself as a subject, but he relies on himself through forms and he also differs in the expression of symptoms, as he considers language a deception and he gets delirious in order to respond. Often in the context, the analyst plays the role of the “Other” which is dangerous for the analyst, as the person who is under analysis may consider him as a “persecutor” as he believes that the “Other” is there and wants to hurt him.

As for the third and final structure, perversion, many have linked it to sexuality and its deviation from reproduction. Based on Freud’s theory, perversion is characterized by refutation as he called the mechanism of denial (the denial of subject to see that women do not have a phallus). Many times, the person who is under perversion identifies himself as the imaginary object of desire (phallus). So in the structure of perversion the person is in an intermediate position in relation to the psychotic and the neurotic object. Specifically, the person who is under perversion accepts the lack (as it happens in neurosis) but he feels complete (as it happens in psychosis) and his actions are not about his own enjoyment but are connected with the enjoyment of the “Other” (even against his will) in an attempt of the subject to bring each partner to deal with his own lack and to become the object that will make up this lack.

These are therefore the three structures in psychoanalysis that participated actively in the formation of the subject and his mental conflict using different mechanisms and having various characteristics which are studied in the psychoanalytic process.

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