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. Irrespective 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 language in 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 already established ideas of language and what it 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, from conscious linked to the unconscious, to one or more elements in the underlying signifying system, repressed elements in the unconscious that are 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 technique 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 existential error that needs to be corrected; 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, a practicing analyst of the School of the Freudian Letter. For Patounas, Psychoanalysis should not only aim towards clarity of that individual truth; it should go even further, towards the Act, the Psychoanalysis of the Act that will enable the individuals, one by one, create their own Act. The Patounian Act, is the Psychoanalysis for “those who can write about the manners and ways of Lungage” with a u.
 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.