Kavanaugh - How Will Bodies of Knowledge Speak the Psychoanalyst in the 21st Century? Some Thoughts on the Art(s) of Psychoanalytic Education
How Will Bodies of Knowledge Speak the Psychoanalyst in the 21st Century?
Some Thoughts on the Art(s) of Psychoanalytic Education©
by Patrick B. Kavanaugh, Ph.D.
(This paper was presented as the president's address at the IX annual interdisciplinary conference of the International Federation for Psychoanalytic Education at Fordham University, Lincoln Center in 1998 (NYC). The theme of the congress was How Will the Body Speak in the 21st Century?)
Philosophic and socio-cultural assumptions are inseparable from one's view of the world, people, life, ... and psychoanalysis. How Will Bodies of Knowledges Speak... considers some of the underlying philosophic-socio-cultural assumptions producing those Bodies of Knowledges that spoke the analyst of the 20th century as a health care professional, a social scientist, and a social engineer. Identity, Purpose, and Ethics of the analytic practitioner are structured in quite specific ways when spoken from a paradigm of biology, medicine, and the natural sciences. With a shift in paradigm, there is a radical shift in Identity, Purpose, and Ethics. Consideration is given also to a more contemporary version of anaysis situated in philosophy, the humanities, and the cultural sciences. This version of analysis develops from the studyof the psychoanalytic arts, e.g., the Arts of Communication, the Arts of Continuity, and the Arts of Critical Thinking. Its Bodies of Knowledges speak an analyst of the 21st century as a Philosopher, Historian, and Artist.
Introduction: It was an early November morning some 30 to 35 years ago. I was on my way to my first professional position at the county psychiatric center located out in the country, far-removed from the city and urban-life. I could tell I was approaching the institutional grounds as I found myself riding along-side the black, iron-spiked fence that encircled the main buildings of this massive residential-treatment facility. After about a mile or so, there was a break in the iron-spiked fence. I slowed, turned in at the main entrance, and entered the grounds. With a nervous excitement, I slowly began the long, winding drive up to the Victorian-styled Admissions building where I was to report.
I still remember seeing about 15 to 20 men cutting the grass with push-mowers. They were lined up behind each other in staggered, overlapping rows so that as they walked in a stiff and lurching kind of unison, they cut a swath maybe 20 to 25 feet wide. It was one of those very late fall, early winter Michigan mornings when the sky is still a blackish-gray, streaked with deep purples and rich, bluish-reds. A foggy mist was hanging heavily in a kind of suspended state just above the ground. I pulled over to the side of the road and watched. It was quite an eerie sight: the men walking stiffly, pushing their mowers, and cutting the grass that no longer needed to be cut. Completing their rows, they would then turn, once again line up, and begin to walk in staggered precision down the next row until, one by one, each disappeared back into the thick, foggy mist. In several minutes, they would re-emerge about twenty feet further over. After watching for awhile, I continued on my drive to the steepled-tipped A-Building where I was to fill out the final paperwork authorizing my admission into this institutional community. In this massive edifice complex, many of the 75 buildings were alphabetized from A through Z; "A-Building" was " of course, the admissions building; "B-Building" was the staff residence; "C-Building" was the patient-run store; "D" through "G" signified and housed the back wards people. And, these were the A, B, C's of institutional life and the structures that held its people.....
As I was to come to learn during the years of my stay, this institution was a community unto itself. Situated on about 900 acres, it had its own farm and the equipment necessary to raise animals and crops, a patient run laundry and store, a printing press and newsletter, a police and fire station, a community center and hospital, living quarters for patients and many of the staff, and a cemetery where over 7,000 former patients were buried. In the place of the person's name, each tombstone was marked by a 4 digit number corresponding to the individual's medical records such as, for example, #3296. (Hunter, 1998) In this community, such human practices were kinds of languages as they functionally demarcated, signified, and communicated aspects of the institutional discourse (Kristeva, 1989). ... And there was something more.... Inside the perimeter of its black, iron-spiked fence, this community had its own distinct culture in which its institutional(ized) systems of thinking, sets of beliefs, and core values served to structure, signify, and authorize certain ways of thinking about the world, life, and each of the people who passed through A-Building. This discourse constructed the social reality, established the discursive rationality, and provided a social coherence for the residents and staff alike. These systems of signification established the rhyme and reason of the institution and constituted 'the natural order of things' in the community. And, these same systems of thinking provided a living and breathing context for the historical text of the community. For example, I was to later learn that those who pushed the mowers in their predetermined rows were affectionately known in this community as the Lobo Brigade, or, the Brigade of the Lobotomized. Back in the 1940's and '50s, it seems, the natural order of things at this particular institution had been to routinely perform pre-frontal lobotomies and various forms of shock therapies as the treatment of choice for the mentally ill. Those people who had silently greeted me at the entrance to the grounds were the living and breathing monuments of that historical time and ways of thinking which had long since past. ... In this community, power and prestige inherently flowed from the hierarchically ordered relationships between the staff and patients; privilege and prerogative derived from the dichotomized distinctions between the sane and the insane. And these were the A, B, C's of the social order that structured the lived experiences of everyday institutional life. And in so doing, making the world(s) behind the black, iron-spiked fence more understandable, comprehensible, and coherent.
In time, I was to eventually move on. This particular institution has long since been downsized through the demolition of its alphabetized buildings and deinstitutionalization of its population. The demolition of its alphabetized structures from A through Z was, no doubt, a quite literalized form of deconstructionism of a particular treatment philosophy. And, besides, property values were increasing as the suburbs were enveloping the countryside. Those few buildings that remained were updated, renamed, and continued to provide services to the surrounding communities as a regional psychiatric hospital. Where there was once the patient-run store, there now sits a MacDonald's restaurant. And the black, iron-spiked fence has long since been removed. .... Did de-fence of the institutional(ized) Truth and its ways of thinking really separate the sane from the insane?
Since I left the grounds of this institution, I have had occasion to be at four other residential treatment facilities. And, it seems that the institutional discourse of such institutions reflected discourses quite specific to the culture-at-large as it structured and organized the community inside de-fence. More specifically, each of these institutions shared a largely unquestioned world view in which their systems of thinking and Bodies of Knowledges rested on the assumptions of classical epistemology; a core medical ideology in which ways of thinking about the world and people derived from a paradigm of biology, medicine, and the natural sciences; and, a dominating rationality in which differences amongst people were understood in the organizing conceptual framework of symptomatology, etiology, and psychopathology. In the United States, this world view, medical ideology, and dominating rationality has constituted a matrix producing Knowledges and meaning in the analytic culture. Premised on a 19th century world view, psychoanalysis modeled itself largely on the prevailing assumptions and methods of the natural sciences. And, the general process of producing Bodies of Knowledges was through an empirical discourse speaking its objectivized Truth in the language of normative standards. In this country, psychoanalysis developed as a medicalized way of thinking housing people in shared, communal understandings of pathology. Mediated by this medical ideology, psychoanalysis endeavored to become a natural science of the mind with conceptions of people signified in the various alphabetized structures of diseases, disorders, and deficiencies. As the analyst spoke these Bodies of Knowledges, these Bodies of Knowledges spoke the analyst of the 20th century as a health care professional, a research scientist, and a social engineer.
This afternoon, I would like to speak to some of the underlying philosophic-socio-cultural assumptions producing these Bodies of Knowledges; the intersect between these Knowledges, Ideology, and Power in the analytic culture; and, the defining influence of these Bodies of Knowledges in the education and identity formation of the Analyst in the 20th century. Also, I would like to consider how more contemporary Bodies of Knowledges might speak the analyst of the 21st century. The A, B, C's of knowledge production are changing and the alphabetized structures of thinking that housed and signified our conceptions of people during the 20th century are in various stages of deconstruction. The very concept and meaning of psychoanalysis as theory, practice, and education has been changing. Currently, many different versions of psychoanalysis exist in the analytic culture, each having a different premise, set of theoretical assumptions, and objectives in the analytic discourse. This theoretical pluralism anticipates, I believe, a pedagogical pluralism in the 21st century. (Kavanaugh, 1995a) Thus, this afternoon I will be considering a version of analysis as situated in philosophy, the humanities and the arts. It is a version of analysis that develops from the study of the psychoanalytic art(s): the Arts of Critical Thinking, the Arts of Continuity, and the Arts of Communication. And, its Bodies of Knowledges speak an analyst of the 21st century as a Philosopher, an Historian, and an Artist.
Bodies of Knowledges Speaking the Analyst of the 20th Century …
From the Perspective of a Skeptical Phenomenalist
In the history of people and ideas, psychoanalysis had its earliest of beginnings within the socio-cultural context of the Industrial Age of the Modern Era. Birthed in a culture of positivism, psychoanalysis was a child of the Westernized cultures; psychoanalytic education was a product of its times. The classical epistemology prevalent in the latter part of 19th century Germany structured certain basic assumptions and preconceptions regarding the world, people, and life. In the world view prevalent of the times, there was only one world. And, this world functioned independently of the observer, according to the predetermined and preordained designs of nature. And people and society were assumed to be part of this natural order and design. A philosophy of Naturalism assumed a unified theory of nature, life and science. And this philosophy contextualized the beliefs, values, and ways of thinking about the world and people. The world and people functioned according to common principles and rational laws, as did all other natural phenomenon in the physical world.
Descartes, Locke, and their successors had brought into question the Greek and medieval philosophic tradition of rational intuitionism. And a ruptured and radical break from the Greek classical tradition took place with the Newtonian synthesis of the empirical inductive method as represented by Bacon and the rational deductive method as represented by Descartes. This synthesis provided the methodology on which natural science was based during the Modem Era. (Capra, 1982) An Aristotelean rational intuitionism resting on intellectual insight was displaced by a Cartesian rational objectivism resting on science and the scientific method. A Cartesian certainty of knowledge about the world and people was possible only through science and the application of the scientific method. And a Newtonian based science, method, and explanation provided an objective, rational, and value free means of discovering the nomothetic laws by which the world functioned. A unification of all Knowledge regarding the universe was not only possible, it was to be the goal of science. Science could now discover the universal laws, unifying concepts, and unitary Truth of this monolithic world and its people. This Cartesian-Newtonian way of thinking was to provide the ontological and epistemological assumptions, premise, core values, and context for the development of Bodies of Knowledges in the westernized cultures. With this reification of sensory impressions came the deification of science as the ultimate signifier of meaning and Knower of Truth. The scientific method and experiment became the paradigm of knowledge production.
A Cartesian Conception of Mind and Body…
In the Cartesian world, a self-evident and dichotomous metaphysics was foundational in thinking and speaking about the world and people. Dichotomous distinctions between the sacred and profane, the mind and body, and the outer objective and inner subjective were developed in a system of binary logic, beliefs and values. Descartes distinguished the outer physical world from the inner world of the mental and claimed to prove that the physical has a separate existence from the mental. (Clarke, 1997) Thinking was the essence of human nature. Identity and Being were found in thought and the rational mind. ... I think, therefore I am... The Cartesian subject was constructed as fully conscious, autonomous, coherent, self-knowable and as speaking without being spoken. (Sarup, 1993) The subject of modernity was constituted as a rational subject with the body subordinated to rational thought. The dualistic solution of an interaction between mind and body privileged the mind over the body. In this dualism, the conceptual had primacy over the physical. And cognition, thinking, and objectivity took primacy over passion, intuition, and subjectivity. .... Does de-fence of this institutional(ized) metaphysical Truth separate the sane from the insane? ... the rational Knowledge of the mind from the contaminating passions of the body? ... and the sacred from the profane?
A radically different perspective in the representation of the mind and body made its appearance in the Studies on Hysteria (1895). In the Studies ..., Freud and Breuer advanced a psychological way of understanding and working with hysterical symptoms, phenomenon that previously had appeared to be without rhyme or reason. "Hysterics suffer from reminescences" was to introduce a revolutionary way of thinking about the question of the body and its relationship to the mind. Hysterical symptoms were seen as a form of knowing, thinking, and remembering, a kind of language of bodymind speaking a unique and specific message. This bodymindspeak was invited to join in the conversation of the analytic discourse as a signifying system, the laws and meanings of which could be discovered as with any other language. (Kristeva, 1989) This representation of the mind and body in the Studies... (1895), the associative representational imagery in The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), and the nature of the unconscious as process in the metapsychological papers (1915) disturbed, disrupted, and threatened to dissolve the Cartesian distinctions between the mind and body, the inner world from the outer, and the sacred from the profane. The A, B, C's constructing the subject of modernity were being placed into question. In his paper on the Unconscious (1915), Freud speaks to the non-linearity of time, space, logic, and causality; the absence of hierarchical organization; and, the mobility of cathexes by which anything could be related to or stand for anything else. Freud, however, retreated from the solipsistic implications that derive from these non-linear notions of representation, time, space, logic, and causality. Indeed, his theoretical emphasis was redirected to the Other. Freud was to theorize about the Object from the more traditional subject-object paradigm of classical epistemology. His subsequent theoretical focus was on the influence of the Object in the development of the Subject (Freud, 1914, 1917, 1923). And, in his later publications, Freud explicitly identified psychoanalysis as part of a classical world view and science (1933, 1937).
The Natural Sciences, Bodies of Knowledges, and Psychoanalysis
Reflecting, perhaps, an institutional(ized) form of desire and physics envy, psychoanalysis positioned itself as a natural science of the mind. As mentioned by Giroux (1997), the principles of rationality in the natural sciences were seen as vastly superior to the hermeneutic principles underlying the more speculative social sciences. And, psychoanalysis drew its major assumptions from the logic and method of inquiry of the natural sciences. In a culture of positivism, Bodies of Knowledges are produced and organized around the assumptions of a metaphysics of presence in which "...something Real could be represented in thought, the Real was understood to be an external or universal subject existing 'out there', and 'truth' was understood to be correspondence to it." (Flax, 1990, p.34) And in the analytic culture, this metaphysics of presence structured a linearized relationship to Language, Knowledge, Theory ... and, Truth. In the fixed, static, and linearized Newtonian world, Language was object-based and Knowledge was understood to be objective, mirror-like reflections of Reality discovered-as-it-is. The Word corresponded to the object it represented and simply reflected the object or causal relationships as existing 'out there.' Truth, understood to be discovered rational knowledge, transformed Knowledge into a scientific thing-like object correspondent to the real world. And Knowledge took on the appearance of being objective, bounded, and context free, far removed from the individual, political, and cultural traditions that structure its meaning. This relationship to the World and Reality,-- and,-- the Word and Knowledge made psychoanalysis teachable and learnable. And education was to be an education of the mind as the body was not considered to be a source of knowing, thinking, or knowledge. (Hooks, 1994; Maher & Tetraux, 1994; Capra, 1982).
As a way of thinking, science and its methodology provided for psychoanalysis a paradigm for listening, understanding, and responding in the analytic discourse. A rational methodology developed by which a most irrational content matter could be understood and prescriptively treated. More specifically, the scientific method provided a formulary by which one could listen out there to the data from the analysand; formulate a hypothesis based on sequenced observations made during the analytic hour; place an intervention in a timely empathic manner as one might manipulate an independent variable; and rule out or confirm the accuracy of the interventions as determined by the subsequent data of thoughts, associations, or states of mind. Confirmation or efficacy of interpretation was evaluatively determined from the analysand's movement towards a theoretically anticipated outcome. (Kavanaugh, 1998) The scientific method became the model of data collection in the analytic discourse; an empirical analytic discourse evolved. And a medicalized system of thinking developed in psychoanalysis which validated itself through this linearization of theory and methodology. With each new discovery, a contribution was made to further the mythology of psychoanalysis as a natural science of the mind. As suggested by Giroux (1997), the Bodies of Knowledges produced from such an empirical-analytic discourse became relevant to the degree that they constituted description and explanation of objectified data, conceived - a priori - as instances of possible universal laws and normative standards. Knowledge, wisdom, and desire were reduced to the rules of empirical discourse. And the soul, mind, and psyche were empiricized.
Mediated by a medical ideology, deviations from these empirically established normative standards were understood as symptomatic of deeper underlying pathology, the cause of which was attributable to the lack of development of specific psychic structures and functions. And these deviations provided the empirical basis for constructing alphabetized, diagnostic structures housing people in various pathological conditions. Differences amongst people were understood as the consequence of deficiencies, disorders, and diseases. Bodies of Knowledges intersect with Power when, in the mind of the analyst, normative standards move from how things are to representing Truth-claims as to how things ought to be for the other. And Bodies of Knowledges intersect with power when the analyst as a health care professional claims the moral justification, obligation, and power to evaluate the other; to signify meaning, purpose, motive and intent for the other; and, to directly or indirectly, influence, if not abridge, an individual's political, social, and personal freedoms and responsibilities. (Kavanaugh, 1999) Universalizing and totalizing conceptions of people contain core ethical issues for the analyst and educator when the purposes of analysis are organized around such normalizing and reparative treatment objectives derived from these idealized normative standards.
Psychoanalytic Education and the Image of the Analyst in the 20th Century
The Bodies of Knowledges speaking the analyst in this country became more certain, predictive, and explanatory. And psychoanalytic Theory became linked to a search for the Truth at the .001 level of confidence. Theory could stand for the nomothetic laws, concepts, and principles scientifically discovered. A Theoretical Reality corresponding to objective reality could be constructed and handed from one person to another. Bodies of Knowledges consisted of pre-thought thoughts, prepackaged theoretical formularies, and predetermined ways by which others ought to be. Knowledge about people could be objectively recorded in the sacred text of Truth-Discovered. And these Knowledges could be inscribed in standardized curriculum. Derived from an empirical analytic discourse, these Knowledges were presented as factual axiomatic givens and, paradoxically, discouraged reflective thinking. And the science of teaching -or, Pedagogy- entered the hallways of the Institute. As a derivation from the Greek paidos meaning boy and agogos meaning guide, Pedagogy literally translates as: to guide the boy. And the candidate was to be guided through these Bodies of Knowledges of Self and Other learned through the tripartite educational model. Psychoanalytic education was organized around the image of the analyst as the knowing subject who knew and understood the natural development of personality and the etiology of symptoms in various pathological conditions. Such a relationship to Knowledge placed the analyst in a privileged relationship to the Truth of and for the Other. Mastery of these core Bodies of Knowledges about Self and Other spoke the analyst as the Knower of the Master Discourse of Psychoanalysis.
And the Institute came to be the privileged site of Knowledge and the Keeper of this Truth. In the analytic community, an institutional(ized) discourse premised on this relationship to Language, Knowledge, Theory ... and Truth defined the A, B, C's of knowledge production and acquisition. A medicalized way of thinking defined the pedagogical paradigm and practices for knowledge acquisition through a pre-designed, pre-approved, and pre-sanctioned program of study that spoke the analyst in its pre-ordained image. The institution of the Training Analyst exemplifies this way of thinking. And such an institutional(ized) discourse reflects, embodies, and reproduces the ways of knowing, thinking, and perceiving emblematic of classical epistemology. The institute was the Keeper of Truth, its institutional discourse spoke the voice of this Truth, and wrapped within the cloak of the Truth of its Theoretical Reality was found the moral piety of those who knew --and, those who were to come to know--the Reality, the Good, the Beauty, and the Truth for others. As the analyst spoke these bodies of knowledges, these bodies of knowledges spoke the analyst.
In the analytic community, the legacy of Freud has been described as a dialectic in which every psychoanalytic proposition blends science with humanism (Bornstein, 1985), a legacy that perpetuates the medical mythology that Knowledges produced by a science of the mind are separate from and unmediated by theories, assumptions, and values. Developed around normative standards, these Bodies of Knowledges create the illusion that Knowledge is universal and exists independently of human beings and the historical context in which it was produced. And this legacy of science and humanism has figured prominently in the identity formation of the analyst. The principles, standards, and criterion of positivism have stood like an iron-spiked fence around the perimeter of the analytic community producing the Bodies of Knowledges that were to speak the analyst as a health care professional possessing the necessary technical knowledge and skills for the treatment and cure of psychopathology; as a social research scientist dispassionately involved in psychic exploration discovering curative factors without contaminating data as it was discovered; and, as a social engineer making contributions to the culture through various analytically informed social policies. .... Does de-fence of the institutional(ized) Truth of a medicalized education and ways of thinking separate the real Analyst from the non-medical analyst?
Changing Times and a Philosophy of Difference…
A little while ago, some 95 to 100 years or so, a second conceptual revolution took place in philosophy, a revolution of no less significance and consequence than the Cartesian break from the Greek classical tradition. Philosophy took a linguistic turn. Language, itself, was to become the privileged object of thought. And a problem arose with those Bodies of Knowledges premised on classical epistemology. Namely, our modes of understanding the world, others, and self depend on language, itself understood as an organized system of signs. Language, itself, is a mode of representation. (Dickens and Fontana, 1994) Saussure in Europe and Charles Sanders Peirce in this country introduced the discipline of semiotics. This linguistic turn in philosophy reflected a ruptured break with modernistic philosophers, their problems and questions, and their seeking universal Truths in their philosophic inquiry. (Clarke, 1997) Semiotics is concerned with the study and analysis of language, systems of signification, and the structures of thought and experiences. And as a mode of knowledge, it understands the world as a system of interconnections and interrelations. Semiotics studies the nature of representation and provides a perspective by which we might conceive of human reality as a construction, as a product of signifying activities which are both culturally specific and generally unconscious. (Sarup, 1993) Indeed, the subject of current times is understood as a historical subject spoken by language, history, and the specific discourses of the culture and constituted by its interrrelations and interconnections. As a philosophy of language, semiotics raises such questions as: Does language simply reflect reality as it exists out there in the real world as assumed by classical epistemology? Or, Does language create and structure Reality as suggested by this linguistic turn in philosophy? Or, does the dichotomous structuring of this very question in an either ... or… form, dissolve into a different question: Does language speak reality, the world, and us as we speak language?....
Human reality as a construction and product of signifying activities speaks to a world view premised on the philosophy of differences of Nietszche and Heidegger wherein which there is an appreciation of an infinite interpretability of reality amongst people. The world(s) is a World of Differences. Indeed, the only world that can ever exist and be known is this World of Differences, e.g., this world of interpretations of the world. And differences amongst people in their construction of reality are considered to be the stuff of life in contrast to evidences of psychopathology. Reality and the nature of that reality is to be found in the eye of the beholder. Paradoxically, it is the appreciation of this World of Differences that spans these differences and unites people into a World of Sameness. The days of the monolithic world of the Industrial Age are quickly fading. Our conceptions of the world, self, and other have been changing. --- The days of a monolithic psychoanalysis have been receding into the foggy mist of a different historical context, time, and perspective as the empiricist's doctrine and thesis have been drawn into question. Correspondence between a value free Science and Objectivity - and - Reason and a unitary Truth has become an interesting historical fiction. And the concepts and meaning of Causality, Identity, the Subject, and Truth have been changing. ....When de-fence of the institutional(ized) Truth surrounding the analytic community is removed, what might be seen in the ob-scene as the sacred and the profane co-mingle?...Does the mind-body dichotomy dissolve into different perspectives producing new Bodies of Knowledges and possibilities for thought and action ?
... How will The Body speak in the 21st century? Is there to be but one body speaking in this World of Differences? Is the body not signified differently in different cultures? and, differently in different discourses of the same culture? Does not the very phrasing of the question speak from the tradition of a unified and universal conception of The Body? and, reduces the complex issues of Body to a unitary Master narrative that minimizes the subject's individuality, historical context, and contingency? Is the body not signified differently by each and every subject of the culture? There is a World of Differences between and within different cultures and people. And these differences contextualize different and multiple Truths regarding the construction and meaning of the Body... and, How the Body might speak in the 21st century. The current crises of reason and representation in the humanities and the social sciences have led to a rethinking of the sources, aims, and goals of knowledges. (Grosz, 1995; Marcus & Fischer, 1986; Gergen, 1994) And, in the analytic culture that which constitutes Bodies of Knowledges and our relationship to those Knowledges have been changing --and, radically so,-- as different ways of thinking as suggested by theoretical physics, chaos theory, and the Asian and Eastern philosophies have entered the analytic community. As the analyst has been speaking these Bodies of Knowledges in the analytic discourse, How might these Bodies of Knowledges speak the analyst in the 21st century? A philosophy of differences contextualizes a World of Differences for analysis as discourse and education in the 21st century.
Re-situated in philosophy, the humanities, and the cultural sciences, psychoanalysis derives from philosophy, rests on a different way of thinking about people, and develops from the study of the psychoanalytic arts. The psychoanalytic arts refer to the Arts of Communication such as language, literature, prose, poetry, music, and semiotics; the Arts of Continuity such as history, mythology, religion, science, theatre, film, dance, folklore, and those traditions of the culture that link a phenomenal past with an anticipated future; and, the Arts of Critical Thinking such as philosophy and philosophic inquiry. (Kavanaugh, 1998b) The psychoanalytic arts consist of Bodies of Knowledges produced from a different philosophic premise, e.g., a radicalized Subjectivism, and appreciate that there are no facts except as construed within the mind of each person. There is no perception independent of one's perception. And Truth as to the question of essence is to be found in the values of the subject. It is the subject who has the privileged relationship to Truth; it is the privilege of the action of the analysis to attempt to understand that Truth. The conceptual premise and understandings of such a psychoanalysis are to be found in the realm of human experiences. (Kavanaugh, 1996a)
Some Thoughts on the Arts of Psychoanalytic Education
The Arts of Communication... The analytic discourse is understood to be a semiotic discourse and is to be understood as one would understand a poetic text. As a semiotic discourse, analysis is, much like poetry, one of the most complex forms of human discourse wherein which all thinking is radically metaphoric. More specifically, people and the external world are constructed and constituted by language, texts, codes, and images. And an inexplicable something more... This perspective raises a number of difficult and complex questions for the analyst and analytic educator. Is all reality psychic reality? Is everything in the universe a sign of itself and something else? For C. S. Peirce, semiosis was a process of infinite regression in which meaning is always known and is always deferred ...at the same time. Meaning is always in a state of becoming. (Gottdiener, 1994) Further, each and every aspect of an individual's world is representational of Self. And that which we see in the world is the unbroken flesh of images of Self spoken through these living and breathing systems of signification. We see who we are; we are who we see. As a unique psychological discourse, psychoanalysis ventures into the poetic communications found in the prose of everyday life. In this discourse every word, thought, and behavior is conceptualized as having a communicative function and constituting a multi-level and multi-dimensional statement which has for the subject both rhyme and reason -and- meaning and purpose, the meaning of which derives from the context in which it makes its appearance. The quest of analysis is to be found in the collaborative effort between individuals attempting to understand the subject's construction of reality and their interpretive design and theory of the world. And, further, to symbolize in words the unsymbolized; elaborate further in words concealed dimensions of experiences not yet known, revealed, or recognized; and, explain certain discontinuities in the person's experiences from their world of significance, meaning, purpose, and adaptation. (Kavanaugh, 1995b) These purposes of analysis are inextricably linked to the study of the Arts of Communication such as semiotics, language, prose, poetry, music, and the linguistics of the body.
In this psychological discourse, the listener must be with the words, and in the words, and be the words, yet, at the same time, go beyond the literal signification of the words. The listener must be in the dimension of literal signification of words and, at the same time, be in a different dimension beyond words and speakers. Perhaps under---standing involves standing under the words in the contextual field of the subject that structures the words and speakers in meaningful ways. (Mueller & Richardson, 1994) The analyst listens, understands, and responds through a blending of literal meaning with this contextual meaning and --inter.. prets-- speaks from somewhere in the space in between. And, in so doing makes a leap, a discovery, and a creative solution that is something more than what could be represented in any other way. Perhaps, it is in the inter .. pret that one speaks to the something more of the psyche, the mind, the soul, ...the inexplicable something more of the mystery, magic, and muscle of the subject to which linearized words, logic, and reasoning cannot go. (Kavanaugh, 1995b)
The Arts of Continuity... Bodies of Knowledges in the psychoanalytic arts are but different perspectives and points of view regarding the world(s), people, and life. And a philosophy of differences leads to a different understanding of those traditions of the culture that link a phenomenal past with an anticipated future, e.g.,the Arts of Continuity. For example, nineteenth century assumptions of narrative history writing as factual and objective accounts about real events have been reconsidered. This view of history as a unitary, unified and unifying Truth has been reexamined and the question of History has been recast in the following form: To which discursive context does this historical recounting belong? What are the historical, political, and economic discourses that produced this Body of Knowledge? and, What was the historical-contextual field that produced and structured its meaning? This perspective of history does not so much constitute a loss of belief in a significant external reality as a loss of faith in our ability to know that reality and represent it as a unitary Truth. This recognition of the multiple perspectives and Truths of history speaks to a rethinking of history as a series of historiographic metafictions (Hutcheon, 1992).
In the analytic culture, Bodies of Knowledges are historically contingent on economic, political, and social forces. And this contingency links the discourses of Knowledge production and acquisition with the discourses of power and ethics. Wrapped in the mythology of medicine and science as value free, Bodies of analytic Knowledges have positioned themselves as somehow existing outside of a particular historical moment, independent of cultural context and perspective, and immune to various socio-political forces. A positivist view of knowledge has obscured this relationship between the production of Bodies of Knowledges valued by various medical groups in the analytic culture and the questions of Power and Ethics. (Giroux, 1997) How has the psychoanalytic culture constituted and signified the meaning of the body through its Bodies of Knowledges? What is the constellation of economic, political, legal, and social interests that such Bodies of Knowledges support in the analytic culture? and, What institutional structures and pedagogical paradigms do such Knowledges justify and perpetuate? An educational process that recognizes Bodies of Knowledges as historically produced and contingent perspectives might study the histories of analytic concepts, the context in which they were produced, and their meanings in the various psychologies of psychoanalysis. And, further, might consider how the Other has been constructed in our binary systems of logic, e.g., students? analysands? patients? the body? the unconscious? Consideration might be given to various historical constructions of the Body, their organizing philosophic assumptions, and their influences in contemporary Knowledges. And to the role that gender differences have played in the production, evaluation, and teaching of these Bodies of Knowledges. And their influences in the analytic discourse. (Irigaray, 1985, Cixous, 1993, 1986; Grosz, 1995; Kavanaugh, 1997)
The Arts of Critical Thinking… The arts of psychoanalytic education make the question(ing) of Ethics, Identity and Purpose as an analyst foundational aspects of the educational process. These questions are the questions of self definition in everyday life as an analyst and, as such, are organizing of the educational discourse, a major goal of which is the development of the ability to see the world(s) from multiple perspectives. Philosophic inquiry provides a basic, necessary and vital kind of freedom to place into question that which has been considered to be the foundational essence of the traditional What Is (ontology) and the logic of the Why of the What is (epistemology) . (Rajschman, 1985) This Freedom to Question is central to an analytic discourse premised in a philosophy of differences, the humanities, and the cultural sciences. The Arts of Critical Thinking refer to the study of philosophy and philosophic inquiry in the service of developing this critical capacity to question that which has been assumed to be natural and self-evident in our Knowledges, moral pieties, and identities as analysts. Such questioning includes the freedom to question the structures of our educational institutions, the assumptions of our received Bodies of Knowledges and sciences, and the constituted experience of the culture, the subject, and, ourselves as analysts and analysands.
Conclusion: How will the Body speak in the 2]st century? It all depends... It depends on the Bodies of Knowledges that inform how one might listen to the Knowledges spoken by the Body in the analytic moment. How might these Bodies of Knowledges speak the analyst of the 21st century?... From this perspective, these Bodies of Knowledges speak the analyst as a Philosopher-Semiotician venturing into the subject's very personal, private, and unique construction of the world(s); ... as an Historian of historiographic metafictions listening to the enduring and fixed traditions of the subject's phenomenal past as coexistent, co-occuring, and codeterminant with present wishes, desires and longings, and future purposes and goals. ... And, as an Artist, translating the ideographic symbolizations of bodymindspeak, speaking with the voices of the dead in this, the present moment of the past. And, in so doing, registering and monumentalizing the subject's passage in time. (Kavanaugh, 1996a) A major question remains to be addressed: How might this image of the analyst speak the analytic educator of the 21st century? As a community, we must bring into question the underlying assumptions of our educational traditions lest we unquestioningly speak the analyst of the 21st century as written on the pages of a 19th century historical text. (Kavanaugh, 1996b) In so doing, we might inadvertently form our own communal version of the Lobo Brigade and become living and breathing monuments of an historical time and ways of thinking long since past.
The project of rethinking psychoanalysis and its Bodies of Knowledges includes rethinking the conditions of acquisiton of those Knowledges. And this includes bringing into question our traditional educational structures and institutions, the underlying assumptions of our educational philosophy and tripartite model, and the image of the analyst around which analytic education has been organized during the 20th century. I believe there will be many different educational models in the 21st century....... a World of Differences in educational philosophies and models, and educational practices and objectives. (Kavanaugh, 1995a) As de-fence of the institutional(ized) Truth is removed and multiple Truths continue to develop in the analytic community, how else could it be?.....
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Dr. Kavanaugh received his doctorate in philosophy (psychology) from the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. Since the completion of his doctoral studies, he has been active in the academic, organizational, and practice areas of the psychoanalytic-psychological community. In the academic area, he has served as Director of Clinical Training and member of the core teaching and supervisory faculty in the doctoral program in psychoanalytic psychology at the University of Detroit; as a member of the teaching and supervisory faculty in the Program for Advanced Studies in Psychoanalysis in Wyandotte, Michigan, an interdisciplinary program for the study of the analytic discourse; and, as a member of the teaching and supervisory faculty in the pre-and post doctoral educational programs at the Detroit Psychiatric Institute, the Wyandotte General Hospital, and the V.A. Medical Center in Detroit. In the organizational area, he is the founding and current president of the Academy for the Study of the Psychoanalytic Arts; past president of the International Federation for Psychoanalytic Education; the Michigan Psychological Association, and the Michigan Society of Clinical Psychologists. In the practice area, many of his professional interests during the past 35 years are directly related to experiences in the discourses of various residential treatment facilities.
Dr. Kavanaugh is a recipient of The Distinguished Psychologist Award from the Michigan Psychological Association and the Master Lecturer Award from the doctoral students at the University of Detroit.
Currently Dr. Kavanaugh is in the private practice of psychoanalysis in Farmington Hills, Michigan:
Office: 31805 Middlebelt, Suite #305
Farmington Hills, Michigan, USA 48334
Phone: (248) 626-6460
Fax: (248) 626-4808