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  • Seminar: The psychoanalytic moment. Quantity, Affect, Representation, Time (Dominique Scarfone, MD)

Seminar: The psychoanalytic moment. Quantity, Affect, Representation, Time (Dominique Scarfone, MD)

  • 25 Jun 2022
  • (CDT)
  • 26 Jun 2022
  • (CDT)
  • 2 sessions
  • 25 Jun 2022, 9:00 AM 4:30 PM (CDT)
  • 26 Jun 2022, 9:00 AM 1:00 PM (CDT)
  • via Zoom


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Dominique Scarfone, MD

June 24-26, 2022

Dr. Scarfone is recently retired from his practice of more than 40 years and from his role as training and supervising analyst in the Canadian Psychoanalytic Society & Institute (Montreal French Branches). A former full professor at the Université de Montréal, he was for many years an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis. He is presently chairing the Executive committee of the International Journal’s College. 

The author of  numerous journal articles and book chapters, he also published a number books, among which Laplanche: An introduction and The Unpast. The Actual Unconscious, both in 2015 in New York by UIT-The Unconscious in Translation. He co-edited with Howard B. Levine and Gail Reed. Unrepresented States and the Construction of Meaning (Karnac, 2013). A new two-volume book is in preparation, with the provisional title : The Reality of the Message. Seduction, trauma and transference (New York : UIT) .The first volume is expected in the Fall of 2021.

Seminar Title: The psychoanalytic moment. Quantity, Affect, Representation, Time.

Seminar Description: If we take the notion of unconscious seriously, the psychoanalytic endeavour asks of the practitioner to work on two different planes simultaneously: the plane of care and sympathy for the patient, and the plane of dispassionate exploration. While care and sympathy (or empathy) stem from a natural disposition, dispassionate exploration is the more difficult part. One reason for this is that, analysis works to lift the repression and allow for the living experience of matters to which the access was denied. Analytic exploration, therefore, works by definition against the pleasure principle and thus requires an upstream rowing of sorts. Another reason is that the exploration meets a complex array of systems and subsystems, with various types of organisations forming the living entity we call the body-psyche. 

One ensuing question is then how to prevent the sympathy for the patient from interfering with an effective work of discovery. For while the former appears as highly desirable and pertains to the expected deontological stance, the latter is the most specific aspect and pertains to the fundamental ethics of psychoanalysis. Interestingly, both attitudes can be shown to rest on a metapsychological basis going back to early Freudian insights about the psyche’s quantitative and qualitative dimensions.

During this course we will reexamine some fundamental aspects of Freud’s metapsychology in the light of the general questions raised above. This will take us from the quantitative (economic) point of view to the more complex mechanisms dealing with dream, fantasy and the après-coup structure of psychic time.

Selected Readings:

1- Freud’s works   :

(1895)  Project for a Scientific Psychology - Parts 1 and 2.

(1899)   Screen memories.

(1900) The interpretation of dreams, Chapters 2, 3 and 6.

(1914) Remembering, Repeating and Working-Through.

(1915) Metapsychology papers: Instincts and their Vicissitudes and The Unconscious.

2- Other works :

Jean Laplanche New Foundations for Psychoanalysis (Transl. by Jonathan House), New York: The Unconscious in Translation, 2016. 

Michel de M’uzan, Slaves of quantity  Psychoanalytic Quarterly, vol. LXXII,  2003, p. 711-725.

Dominique Scarfone, From Traces to Signs, in (H. Levine, G. Reed and D. Scarfone, Editors)  Unrepresented States and the Construction of Meaning, London : Karnac Books.

"Nothing human is alien to me"  --Terrence

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