Lacanian talking therapy considered closely: A qualitative study

Dries Dulsster, Stijn Vanheule, Joachim Cauwe, Junior Ingouf, Femke Truijens

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10 Citations (Scopus)


The present study aims at mapping and interpreting the factors that stand out as relevant to personal change in Lacanian psychoanalytic therapy from a first-person perspective. Using interview data of participants’ personal accounts of their therapeutic journey, we applied (phenomenologically inspired) thematic analysis to gain insight into what they believed effectuated change. We provide a descriptive thematic account of what patients indicated as crucial to change. Second, we interpret the data within the context of Lacan’s seminal text “The Function and Field of Language and Speech in Psychoanalysis,” which provides a theory of change in psychoanalysis. We discerned five principal themes, each of which revolves around a single aspect of the therapeutic process. Participants indicated that they came to the therapy at a moment of crisis, experienced a surprising reframing, and that they had found somebody who paid close attention to their speech. Because of this, they also began to consider their speech and this helped them to see themselves in a new light. It helped them to reflect on what they really wanted. Participants indicated that such self-reflection was directly related to personal change. We situate these themes in terms of Lacan’s seminal text “Function and Field of Language and Speech in Psychoanalysis.” We observed reasonable coherence between the key themes discerned in our participants’ interview data, and the key points Lacan stresses in “Function and Field.”
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-28
JournalPsychoanalytic Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

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