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Moss, D. (1989). From the Treatment of a Nearly Psychotic Man: A Lacanian Perspective. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 70:275-286.

(1989). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 70:275-286

From the Treatment of a Nearly Psychotic Man: A Lacanian Perspective

Donald Moss


In 'The unconscious', Freud's distinction between neurosis and psychosis rests upon a distinction in the functional utilization of word and thing representations in the two categories. This relation of word to thing parallels the relation of signifier to signified initially developed by Saussure and then taken up by Lacan in his re-reading and re-working of Freud. Lacan triangularizes Saussure's two-termed scheme by introducing the concept of the Father (The-Name-of …, The-Law-of …, The Paternal Function). The Father is a logical-structural term which permanently segregates signifier from signified and thus transforms erotic life from a search for the original 'real thing' to a represented substitute.

Segments of a clinical narrative are presented to demonstrate this triangularity and to illuminate the particular volatility of that trìangulated logical structure in near-psychotic states.

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