Psychoanalysis was developed by Sigmund Freud towards the end of the 19th century. Freud realized that when his patients started talking about their suffering, their symptoms, bodily or not, disappeared and their Neurosis was cured. A talking cure!
Since its creation, different Psychoanalytic practices developed. Irrespectively of the different methods and approach followed by its practitioners, all supported the idea of the unconscious. The most noticeable development made in Psychoanalysis since its creation, was made by Jacques Lacan, a French Psychiatrist that was regarded as “the most controversial Psychoanalyst since Freud”.
Freud developed a practice in which he believed that, by making the unconscious conscious, his patient’s suffering will be relieved. He worked together with his patients and through the technique of free association, fragments of the unconscious were becoming conscious, and gradually the early history of the analysand’s life, parts of it that were repressed and the cause of the symptom were coming to light. Symptoms, bodily or not, disappeared and the patients were free from their Neurosis. The unconscious, according to Freud, is “a reservoir of repressed elements, elements that remain hidden from the conscious mind”.
Through his Psychoanalytic Practice, he discovered that fragments of the unconscious were revealed in the slips of the tongue, jokes and dreams, emphasizing the agency of language as a subjective constitution, a structure shaping subjectivity and in its essence the foundation for all subjective phenomena.
Jacques Lacan supported Freud’s argument in his May 6 1957 lecture “The instance of the Letter in the unconscious, or reason since Freud”, later published in his 1966 book Écrits:
“by ‘letter’ I designate the material medium that concrete discourse borrows from language […], the primary reason for this is that language, with its structure, exists prior to each subject’s entry into it at a certain moment in his mental development.”
He designates the letter as something of substance, something that existed prior to the development of the discourse of the unconscious, thus, designating the unconscious as something that was created by language. The unconscious is structured like a language, governed by the rules of the signifier, the same way language is.
“What this structure of the signifying chain discloses is the possibility I have, precisely insofar as I share its language with other subjects […] to use it to signify something altogether different from what it says”.
This statement makes us rethink what language is. For Lacan Language is not only verbal speech or written text, it is any signifying system that is related to one or more than one function within a given system, linked to one or more elements in an underlying signifying system, elements that are repressed in the unconscious but in full effect.
The unconscious is structured like a language means that it involves the act of ciphering and deciphering of meaning. The unconscious reveals itself in the Psychoanalytic setting through free association – a method developed by Freud. With free association, “the unconscious is revealed in the gap between signifier and signified” and through this sliding of the signified underneath the signifier, the failure of a fixed meaning within the unconscious is signified.
Through free association, hidden elements from history are unveiled. Psychoanalytic approach unlike any other method or discipline supports the idea that the symptom serves a function, an existential function unique to every person. The symptom is not an error; it is rather a clue to that person’s individual truth.
There were two waves in Psychoanalysis. The first was with its founding father, Sigmund Freud, aiming towards the cure of his analysands. The second wave started in France with the French Psychoanalyst, Jacques Lacan. The aim of the Lacanian Psychoanalysis was not the cure of a given pathology, but to enable the analysand reach their truth, an existential truth, unique in its essence. Furthermore, we are now witnessing the latest developments in Psychoanalysis with the third wave. The third wave started with Petros Patounas, of the School of the Freudian Letter. For Patounas, Psychoanalysis not only should aim towards clarity of that individual truth; it should go even further, towards the Act, the Analysis that enables the individual, one by one, to create their own Act. The Patounian Psychoanalysis, is the Psychoanalysis for “those who can write about the manners and ways of Lungage” with a u.
To conclude, psychoanalysis started towards the end of the 19th century with the concept of the unconscious and its aim was the cure. It has created waves who supported the existence of the unconscious and waves who did not. Freud’s idea of the existence of the unconscious entails a new idea on what is language. Lacan’s developments on the Freudian Psychoanalysis said that the Other of Language pre-existed and human beings enter Language, thus, the unconscious was created by language and it is governed by the rules of the signifier.
Psychoanalytic Practice at the time of Freud supported that, when the unconscious becomes conscious, the patient’s suffering will be alleviated. With Lacan’s development’s we see a change in the orientation of psychoanalysis, from cure to truth, and from patient to analysand. Lacan realized that there was nothing needed to be cured, subjective phenomena were not an error in subjectivity but the subjective constitution in its entirety. In other words, the subject becomes a subject when enters language and the subjective constitution is shaped by the language inherited from lineage, the genetic lineage of language.
For Lacan, Psychoanalysis assist the subject reach their own individual truth that results in freeing them from the genetic lineage of language. Lacanian Psychoanalysis is not curing pathologies and does not diagnose any of sorts. It has the clinical structural diagnosis as compass to assists Psychoanalysts operate within the psychoanalytic setting. Psychoanalytic structures are Psychosis, with two subcategories, Paranoia and Schizophrenia, and now, Ordinary Psychosis, an undetected, untriggered Psychosis very often mistaken as Neurosis or Perversion. Second is Perversion and third is Neurosis with two subcategories, namely, Hysteria and Obsessional Neurosis. A clinical structural diagnosis is the diagnosis showing the subject’s entry and function within language.
Petros Patounas, the initiator of the third wave of Psychoanalysis, states that Psychoanalysis should aim towards the Act. The Patounian Act takes into consideration the subject and its uniqueness. This uniqueness should not be limited to structural diagnosis because it renders psychoanalysis into a technique. For Patounas, Psychoanalysis is the Freudian Ascesis of Lunguage “where the most beautiful universes are pouring out sweepings with the letters of Lunguage as the Πνοή του Λόγου ∙ from the place desire is asphyxiated”. Psychoanalysis, is not a technique that operates within the clinical psychoanalytic structures and towards truth: it is transmitted. What is transmitted is not knowledge, but the Ethic.
Patounas has taken Psychoanalysis beyond any structural diagnosis and towards topology. Enclosing the Psychoanalytic Act within a structural diagnosis, the Act becomes inactive, the diagnosis a compass and the subject with all its complexities rendered into a diagnosis. He agrees with Lacan that Psychoanalysis should aim towards Truth, but the knowledge acquired by the subject when reach their truth does not provide a solution for the subject, a solution on how to exist in the world as a new subject. Through analysis we see a new subject emerge from the ashes and the old ways to exist cannot support that position. The Patounian Act is the Psychoanalysis that calls each subject, one by one, to create their own unique Act, a new way to exist in the world that is one with their individual truth. Create a solution in life where “Truth and the Act are One”.
 David Macey, "Introduction", Jacques Lacan (1994). The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis, London: Penguin Books, p. xiv
 Freud, Sigmund. The Unconscious. London: Penguin, 2005.
 Freud, Sigmund. The psychopathology of everyday life. New York: Penguin Books, 2003.
 Freud, Sigmund. Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious phone. City: White Press, 2014.
 Freud, Sigmund. The interpretation of dreams. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1994.
 Lacan, J. (1966). Ecrits. Paris: Seuil, p. 413.
 Ibid. p. 421.
 Ibid. p. 419.
 PATOUNAS, P. (2015). ON THE ASCESIS OF PSYCHOANALYSTS. Lulu.
 Patounas, P. (2015, March 29). ON THE FREUDIAN ASCETICISM OF LUNGUAGE. Retrieved October 30, 2020, from http://petrospatounas.com/on-the-freudian-asceticism-of-lunguage/