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Resistance

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[[resistance]] ([[French]]: ''[[résistance]]'')
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[[Freud]] first used the term '[[resistance]]' to designate the unwillingness to [[recall]] [[repressed]] [[memories]] to [[consciousness]].
 
Since [[psychoanalytic treatment]] involves precisely such [[recollection]], the term soon came to denote all those obstacles that arise during the [[treatment]] and interrupt its [[progress]]: "Whatever disturbs the progress of the work isa resistance."<ref>Freud, 1900a: SE V, 517</ref>
 
[[Resistance]] manifests itself in all the ways in which the [[subject]] breaks the '[[fundamental rule]]' of saying everything that comes into his mind.
 
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Though present in [[Freud]]'s work from the beginning, the concept of [[resistance]] began to play an increasingly important part in [[psychoanalytic theory]] as a result of the decreasing efficacy of [[analytic treatment]] in the decade 1910-20.
 
As a consequence of this, [[ego-psychology]] placed increasing importance on overcoming the [[patient]]'s [[resistance]]s.
 
==Jacques Lacan==
[[Lacan]] is very critical of this shift in emphasis, arguing that it easily leads to an 'inquisitorial' style of psychoanalysis which sees resistance as based on the 'fundamental ill will' of the patient.<ref>{{S1}} p.30</ref>
 
[[Lacan]] argues that this overlooks the structural nature of
resistatice and reduces analysis to an imaginary dual relation <ref>{{E}} p.78; {{Ec}} p.333ff</ref>
 
[[Lacan]] does accept that [[psychoanalytic treatment]] involves "analysis of resistances," but only on condition that this phrase is understood correctly, in the sense of "knowing at what level the answer should be pitched."<ref>{{S2}} p.43</ref>
 
In other words, the crucial thing is that the [[analyst]] should be able to distinguish between interventions that are primarily orientated towards the [[imaginary]] and those that are orientated towards the [[symbolic]], and know which are appropriate at each moment of the [[treatment]].
 
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In [[Lacan]]'s view, [[resistance]] is not a question of the ill will of the [[analysand]]; [[resistance]] is [[structural]], and it is inherent in the [[analytic process]].
 
This is due, ultimately, to a [[structural]] "incompatibility between desire and speech."<ref>{{E}} p.275</ref>
 
Therefore there is a certain irreducible level of [[resistance]] which can never be 'overcome'.
 
"After the reduction of the [[resistance]]s, there is a residue which may be what is essential."<ref>{{S2}} p.321</ref>
 
This irreducible 'residue' of [[resistance]] is 'essential' because it is the respect for this residue that distinguishes psychoanalysis from [[suggestion]].
 
[[Psychoanalysis]] respects the right of the [[patient]] to resist [[suggestion]] and indeed values that [[resistance]].
 
<blockquote>"When the [[subject]]'s [[resistance]] opposes [[suggestion]], it is only a [[desire]] to maintain the [[subject]]'s [[desire]]. As such it would have to be placed in the ranks of positive [[transference]]."<ref>{{E}} p.271</ref></blockquote>
 
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However, [[Lacan]] points out that while the [[analyst]] cannot, and should not try to, overcome all [[resistance]], he can minimise it, or at least avoid exacerbating it.<ref>{{S2}} p.228</ref>
 
He can do this by recognising his own part in the [[analysand]]'s [[resistance]], for "there is no other [[resistance]] to [[analysis]] than that of the [[analyst]] himself."<ref>{{E}} p.235</ref>
 
This is to be understood in two ways:
 
==One==
The [[resistance]] of the [[analysand]] can only succeed in obstructing the [[treatment]] when it responds to and/or evokes a [[resistance]] on the part of the [[analyst]], i.e. when the [[analyst]] is drawn into the [[lure]] of [[resistance]] (as [[Freud]] was drawn into the [[lure]] of [[Dora]]'s [[resistance]]).
 
"The patient's resistance is always your own, and when a resistance succeeds it is because you [the analyst] are in it up to your neck, because you understand."<ref>{{S3}} p.48</ref>
 
Thus the [[analyst]] must follow the rule of neutrality and not be drawn into the [[lures]] set for him by the [[patient]].
 
==Two==
It is the [[analyst]] who provokes [[resistance]] by pushing the [[analysand]]:
 
"There is no resistance on the part of the subject."<ref>{{S2}} p.228</ref>
 
"[[Resistance]] is the present state of an [[interpretation]] of the [[subject]]. It is the manner in which, at the same time, the subject interprets the point he's got to. ... It simply means that he [the patient] cannot move any faster."<ref>{{S2}} p.228</ref>
 
[[Psychoanalytic treatment]] works on the principle that by not forcing the [[patient]], [[resistance]] is reduced to the irreducible minimum.
 
Thus the [[analyst]] must avoid all forms of [[suggestion]].
 
 
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The source of [[resistance]] lies in the [[ego]]:
 
"In the strict sense, the [[subject]]'s [[resistance]] is linked to the [[register]] of the [[ego]], it is an effect of the [[ego]]."<ref>{{S2}} p.127</ref>
 
Thus [[resistance]] belongs to the [[imaginary]] [[order]], not to the level of the [[subject]].
 
"On the side of what is [[repressed]], on the [[unconscious]] side of things, there is no [[resistance]], there is only a tendency to [[repeat]]."<ref>{{S2}} p.321</ref>
 
This is illustrated in [[schema L]]; resistance is the imaginary axis a-a' which impedes the insistant speech of the Other (which is the axis A-S).
 
The [[resistance]]s of the [[ego]] are [[imaginary]] [[lures]], which the [[analyst]] must be wary of being [[deceived]] by.<ref>{{E}} p.168</ref>
 
Thus it can never be the [[aim]] of [[analysis]] to "strengthen the [[ego]]," as [[ego-psychology]] claims, since this would only serve to increase [[resistance]].
 
 
 
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[[Lacan]] also criticises [[ego-psychology]] for confusing the concept of [[resistance]] with that of [[defense]].
 
However, the distinction which [[Lacan]] draws between these two concepts is rather different from the way in which they are distinguished in Anglo-American [[psychoanalysis]].
 
[[Lacan]] argues that [[defence]] is on the side of the [[subject]], whereas [[resistance]] is on the side of the [[object]].
 
That is, whereas [[defence]]s are relatively stable [[symbolic]] [[structure]]s of [[subjectivity]], [[resistance]]s are more transitory forces which prevent the [[object]] from being absorbed in the [[signifying chain]].
 
==See Also==
 
==References==
<references/>
 
[[Category:New]]
[[Category:Jacques Lacan]]
[[Category:Terms]]
[[Category:Concepts]]
[[Category:Dictionary]]
[[Category:Treatment]]
[[Category:Practice]]
[[Category:Imaginary]]
[[Category:Psychoanalysis]]
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