Rome Discourse

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The Rome Discourse marked Lacan's break with the analytic establishment and the formation of his own school of psychoanalytic thought.

Characterized by a mardedly polemical style of presentation, it is a manifesto of the aims of Lacanian psychoanalysis.

In it Lacan catigated contemporary psychoanalytic theory and practice and proposed a radical revision of the whole psychoanalytic field.


The main thrust of the Rome Discourse pushes for the revision of psychoanalysis by a return to the study of the properties of language, with which the early Freud was particularly concerned.

It is a long and difficult text, covering a wide variety of issues, some of which are fully developed, while others are merely mentioned briefly.

Our aim here is not to outline its main points, concentrating on those most relevant to psychoanalysis.


In the Rome Discourse Lacan questioned the main concepts of psychoanalysis and took up issues shared with such human sciences as linguistics, philosophy and anthropology.

In Lacan's view, psychoanalysis is distinguished from other disciplines in that the analyst works on the subject's speech.

"Whether it sees itself as an instrument of healing, or of exploration in depth, psychoanalysis has only a single medium: the patient's speech."[1]

From the birth of analysis, language has been its primary field of action and the priveleged instrument of its efficacy, it is the "talking cure."[2]








  1. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. p. 40
  2. Template:SE 2. p. 30