Guarantee

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THE IMPASSE OF THE GUARANTEE

Following the Document on supervision, the Action Committee of the School One wants to enlarge the debate on the guarantee.

The School, as we know, gives two kinds of guarantee:

-The first kind of guarantee is the one demanded by the passand, which is given as a result of consideration by the Pass Cartel of the report made by the passers of the passand’s testimony. The title of A.E. may then be awarded to him. This nomination is thus founded on a performance, the testimony of the candidate having convinced the cartel that he has achieved the passage from the position of analysand to that of analyst, the real outcome that signals the end of an analysis carried to its conclusion.

- The second kind of guarantee is that given by the School to a practitioner of psychoanalysis who has proved himself. In principle the School recognises, in giving him the title of A.M.E., that the practitioner is a product of his training, and further: that he has given sufficient proof of this training.

However, as Jacques-Alain Miller writes in a document addressed to the E.C.F. Commission of the guarantee, despite more than twenty years of existence the Commissions of the guarantee of the Schools have, if they exist at all, established nothing substantial concerning these proofs deemed necessary to the nomination of a practitioner to the title of A.M.E. He deduces from this that there can be no definition of the A.M.E. other than a tautological one: "a member named by the Commission of the guarantee".… "There is nothing more to be said." Full stop.

How then today, in a world of increasing deregulation, to consider a politics of the guarantee in the School starting from the foundations bequeathed by Lacan, to improve its usage for the analytic experience?

I - THE GUARANTEE OF THE A.M.E. AND ITS FIELD.

The guarantee of the AME is thus to be seen as the field of action of its Commission charged with selection of members to be nominated to this title, that is, the analysts which it declares to have been trained by the School. Before this guarantee of training, there is the other guarantee of the School which is based on the Pass, whose procedure resides within the School itself.

There are other means by which the two guarantees can be distinguished. The first is the object of a demand, which presupposes a performance carried out according to a precise procedure to which the title of A.E. corresponds, and is conferred by the Commission (one of the cartels) of the pass. This title is temporary. The other guarantee is not subject to demand, is not based on a specific performance, and corresponds to the title of A.M.E. conferred by the Commission of the guarantee as a permanent title. The first guarantee constitutes, as one of the principles of Lacan’s School, a fundamental reference for the second. The second guarantee places at the forefront the practice of psychoanalysis such that the School can verify it and transmit its usage, but the nomination of the A.M.E. in this context implies that what is at stake is problematic.

"The analyst can only be authorised by himself", is a decisive principle in the position of the School according to Lacan. What he implied is that the School does not intervene in any way in this authorisation, which is to be radically distinguished from the guarantee. In fact "the analyst does not guarantee himself", as Graciela Brodsky has formulated, this requires the School, whose place lies there, in the relation of the psychoanalyst to psychoanalysis. The A.E. permits the School to verify that it produces a psychoanalyst, whereas the School delivers to the A.M.E. a guarantee as to his training. Neither the A.E. nor the A.M.E. are anything in and of themselves, they are only something of the School, as is inscribed in their very title. Only one authorisation exists, which does not come from the School, but two kinds of guarantee exist, heterogeneous and asymmetrical, even if they are articulated in relation to each other.

The Pass verifies that a psychoanalyst is produced as a conclusion of the analysing journey reported by the passand in the procedure. The stake is the analytic act, to which the A.E. testifies. For a psychoanalyst to be such, he must be produced, and he is the product of the act. But is this "product" a trained product? The production of an analyst and his training are not equivalent even if there is no training of an analyst without his being produced in as much as training is not thinkable without implicating the psychoanalyst as practitioner, without putting into play the practice of psychoanalysis. The only practice at stake in the production of the A.E. is that of his analyst (we will return to this presently) and as far as he is concerned one could say that what is at stake is his practice as an accomplished analysand. It might well be the case, it is even the case most frequently today, that this analysand has an analytic practice. But it is not on this basis that he is nominated as A.E. The fact that some of them testify, after the procedure, to the major influence of the result of their nomination on their practice, does not obviate against this distinction.

The difference must be marked therefore between analysed analyst and practising analyst. They do not emerge from the same selection, their heterogeneity corresponds to two titles of the gradus in the School, thus to two asymmetrical sides of the guarantee. Their distinction opens onto that of the production and training of a psychoanalyst. Should it not be necessary to stress to the practising analyst, justifiably preoccupied with his training, not to omit his relation to his being produced as such? Lacan considered the nomination of A.M.E. as an invitation to present oneself to the pass. Today the stress is placed on training. What remains is the renewed pertinence of the two sides, without neglect of either, with their heterogeneity first.

II – THE A.M.E. IN THE SCHOOL TODAY.

It is true that the elaborations on the production of the psychoanalyst are much more numerous and precise than those on his training. The pass, the data revealed by its procedure, as well as the testimonies of the A.E., are at the forefront of the School. Lacan wanted it to be so, to lift the veil on the end of analysis and on what an analyst is, whereas the IPA had laid stress on the practitioner alone. Multiple consequences have resulted from the pass, among which a lively transmission of psychoanalysis which brings out the original and novel nature of the psychoanalyst’s desire.

The A.M.E. and the guarantee of training of the practitioner of psychoanalysis have remained more in the shade. To give a real foundation to this nomination no original procedure has been invented, no demand is even to be made to achieve this title. Lacan hinted that he expected a great deal from the A.E. and nothing from the A.M.E. who was only there as a response to an institutional necessity in relation to the outside world. The A.M.E. had to be chosen, he thought, according to what he called "good sense", a convention evoking scales in which rumour, personal relations and influences carry weight. Nevertheless Lacan added a certain amount of data to be collected by the Commission of the guarantee in relation to this nomination.

Thus, in the last Directory of the École Freudienne de Paris in 1977, at the top of the list of the A.M.E. (which has never since then figured as such in the directories of the Schools following the Dissolution) certain recommendations were stated destined for the authority charged with nominating them. The maxim that the analyst is authorised only by himself in no way excludes the "selection which guarantees his competence", which should allow "a discernment at least as strict, if not more well-founded than what is practised elsewhere." The Commission must take into account the "permanent questioning of the training" constituted by the pass, "for the delegation of the title by which the School as such guarantees not only the competence but also the regularity of the practice of any of its members, in the name of what specifies the School: the analytic quality.". "To do this:

   *
     It demands the agreement of the subject’s analyst.
   *
     It receives the testimony of his supervisors (two or less)
   *
     It informs itself of the psychoanalytic quality of the work which the subject has produced in group activity or in written work. 
   *
     If the collected data appears to be insufficient, the Jury calls the subject before it in order to collect all the data concerning the analytic quality of his work." 

It is noticeable that the requirements are not lacking, but also that they are quite classical, and do not contradict the thesis according to which, in relation to training, the A.M.E. in the School One today is the remainder of the IPA. In fact the data has been very unequally collected during the course of the deliberations of the Commissions of the guarantee of the Schools. Some A.M.E. are certainly nominated, but without, on the part of the Commissions, any reporting on the subject in the teaching to which they are formally bound.

For the nomination of an A.M.E. is linked neither to the nominee’s own subjective experience, nor to transmission on the epistemic level. And the factual proofs of sufficient training not being regularly collected, "it is difficult today to define the A.M.E. other than as a member of the School nominated by the Commission of the guarantee", with prudence in the best of cases. Lacan probably wanted it this way, having made sure the title should neither be the object of a demand, nor desirable, nor brilliant. Like all titles it is a semblant, but the absence of a performance which would found it in the real distances it from precise analytic pertinence.

The drawbacks which follow from this are obvious. The professional competence which the title is supposed to sanction is sufficiently badly referenced to be open to political opportunities and influences, in the most pejorative sense. The obscurity in which it is maintained dilutes the effects, thus also the bad ones. But should this situation be put up with?

Today the title should find a better relevance, given its role in the extension of psychoanalysis, both in its relation to the external world and in the manner in which it puts itself forward. The situation of psychoanalysis has changed in the world, evidently. This situation is different from that known by Lacan when he established the conditions which seemed to him necessary for the obtention of the title of A.M.E. The new attention brought to the training of the psychoanalyst, to what is specific to psychoanalysis in this era of mass psychotherapies, imposes a renewal of the approach to the title of A.M.E., it even urges the School One to make better use of its A.M.E. beyond their mere inclusion in a list.

The permanent questioning of the training of the psychoanalyst is what could come to counterbalance the permanence of the title of A.M.E. Is it possible to explore other means which might permit a better use of the impasse of the guarantee?

III DIVERSE MEANS

It is necessary "to formulate a theory of training which takes the Pass into account but which does not unilateralise training from the point of view of the Pass only". (J.-A. Miller, quoted in the Document on the principle of supervision in the School.)

In psychoanalysis, the relations that psychoanalysts hold to it are an essential point. The question is present in every treatment, and it falls upon supervision not to cease to promote this presence. It is also primordial in the relations that psychoanalysts have between themselves, of which the School is the elective place, not forgetting the relations psychoanalysts have with the outside, where the School also intervenes. The founding of the School One, in its position of extimacy in relation to the other Schools, can open up new means, a new approach for the A.M.E.

It can be inferred from the Lacanian politics that a dynamic equilibrium is necessary between the semblant and the real in the analytic institution to deal with this link between psychoanalysts and psychoanalysis. The question of training is woven with paradoxes, as can be grasped in Lacan himself when he affirms that "there is no training (formation, in French) of the analyst, there are formations of the unconscious." However the same Lacan has suggested, in the Founding act and elsewhere, that the School dispenses a training that it must guarantee in each case.

Moreover the School, in naming an A.M.E., makes a supposition of savoir-faire in the experience of the practitioner which should orientate the treatment beyond the therapeutic. Nevertheless this nomination does not guarantee the results of the A.M.E.’s practice. The title guarantees to the one who makes a demand to the A.M.E. that he is having to do with an analyst formed by the School, capable of producing the effect of allowing the subject to make a decision to enter into a new, original, social bond, the psychoanalytic discourse. How can this guarantee given by the School be verified in its foundations if it has nothing real in it which could shore up its being as semblant?

For the prospective A.M.E., the question is posed concerning the performance but it is difficult to find a response since one does not demand to be an A.M.E. A firm proposition was made, following the first version of Lacan’s Proposition of the 9th October, 1967 : when a practising analyst has had one of his analysands nominated as A.E., he will be nominated as A.M.E. if he is not one already. If he is, he will be nominated as A.E. himself. It is true that to direct the treatment of one of his analysands to the point of his nomination as A.E. is a guarantee as to the practice of his analyst. It is striking to read such a proposition by Lacan in the first version of his text in which he defines for the first time the two titles guaranteed by the School. The performance, if not the feat, of such a practitioner is unquestionable even if it can only be asserted in exceptional cases. Certainly this part of Lacan’s proposition cannot be a general solution to the problem of the bases for nomination of the A.M.E. and the A.E. The number of A.M.E. likely to become A.E. by this route is more or less statistically insignificant. But rarity and the place of exceptions in Lacan’s theory are, as we know, fundamental. We remember here Lacan’s throwing into relief the One of exception, the plus-one, and above all the "at-least-one". Even if such a route to promotion of an A.M.E. to A.E., which uses the procedure of the Pass without having to go through the pass, had only marginal consequences in terms of the number of new A.E. nominations, it could change, even if only by a single thread, the relation that the A.M.E. and the A.E. have within the Schools. First and foremost, such a disposition could correct the adverse effect, denounced by Jacques-Alain Miller, of the temporary character of the function of the A.E. This adverse effect has made more difficult the working tension of the two titles that Lacan wanted when he formalised the structure of the gradus and hierarchy in his School. Before the Dissolution, the A.M.E. could become A.E. through the Pass and he remained an A.E. Now, with the provisional character of the A.E., the latter can only become a prospective A.M.E. (if he is not one already!). Things are the other way around. Before, the permanent status of A.E. led him to "cast himself in his caste". Now, with his provisional status, the A.E. is doomed to become part of the class of the eternal A.M.E. Does there not exist a risk of more adverse effects for the A.E. become A.M.E.? Invested with the supposition of knowledge linked to his former function of A.E., can he not become "unknowingly of his own free will", the Master Analyst of the School?

The good usage of the A.M.E. would be to conserve his status as semblant, which is the most substantial of what he has, since he has no other real reference on which to found himself than the exercise of a semblant of the object allowing orientation of the treatments that he conducts towards the real and the desire of the psychoanalyst of which he is the medium. It is the "ironic cipher" of the A.M.E., thus qualified by Lacan. Not the irony that discredits, where it is aimed, more than it produces an effect, but the irony with which the School has to carry the dispute about guarantees in public. As Jacques-Alain Miller was once able to say: "The irony de-doubles the Other: one hears the superficial meaning when the other hears the reverse, as it should be heard. Dividing the Other separates the exoteric from the esoteric. That is why irony isolates from society the community of those who hear the irony. All Lacan’s teaching is as ironic as it is mathematical. The analytic community itself has to be ironic in relation to social authorities: to have the necessary regard for its powers, and always to maintain distance and derision."

IV TOWARDS A NEW A.M.E.?

A new use of the title of A.M.E. must be found according to its relevance, particularly from the perspective of a renewed approach to the training of the practitioner of psychoanalysis. But it could also be that there is a place for reflection on modifying the rules and procedures leading to the delivery of this title, starting from the School One and its extimate position in relation to the other Schools of the World Association of Psychoanalysis (WAP or AMP). Jacques-Alain Miller has expressed the hope of seeing the procedure of nomination to A.M.E. "perfected". The reformulation of the principles for establishing guarantee could contribute to renewing the School at the threshold of the new century.

The psychoanalyst defines himself by his desire, but what becomes of this desire during the long course of practice? The nominated A.E. certifies that there is a psychoanalyst, but how does he go to work in the case by case of practice? How does one analyse today? How does one use applied psychoanalysis such as is defined in the Founding act and distinguish it from pure psychoanalysis, since applied psychoanalysis is characterised by applying the analytic act which, without deploying all its effects, avoids, nonetheless, that psychoanalysis be reduced to mere psychotherapy?

These questions, and others which might be added to them, will help us define the contours of the nomination of the A.M.E. Above all we should count on the necessity of supervision as a essential proof of ability, according to the principles spelt out in the previous Document of the Action Committee. These are the many debates to be sustained which can reanimate the interest presented by the question of the guarantee at this time of the School One. Concerning the existing A.M.E., why not ask him to tell us about what an A.M.E. is? The A.E. too, as an analyst of the experience of the School, has his word to say, and every one of the other members as well, practitioner or no, analyst or non-analyst, of the School One.

Addressing the ECF Commission of the guarantee, Jacques-Alain Miller expressed himself in these terms: "Either one is content with it (…) with the practice of this title by Lacan, or one goes beyond it. Being content is not to make ripples. At the most, this amounts to making it known discreetly that what is most authentically sanctioned by the title is supervision (…) To go beyond that would be to define a performance for the prospective A.M.E. But which one? And of whom to demand it, since to be an A.M.E. is not a question of demand?"

This is material for a true debate in the School One. 1.The French initials have been used: A.E. "Analyste de l'Ecole" (Analyst of the School), and A.M.E. "Analyste Membre de l'Ecole" (Analyst Member of the School)

2."Training" translates the French formation throughout this text, though the English word does not cover exactly the same ground as formation in French, which refers to academic as well as practical training. It should be clear from the context, here, that training for the School, does not refer in any way to professional or institutional practice.

Bibliography

1. Graciela Brodsky¿Donde encontrar al AME? Noches de la Garantia EOL 1995.

2. J.Lacan, Proposition du 9 octobre 1967, première version, Ornicar?Analytica Vol.8, 1978

3. J.Lacan, Lettre aux Italiens, La Lettre Mensuelle de l'ECF n°9, April 1982

4. J.A.Miller, Siete adjetivos de la palabre comunidad, Mas-Uno n°2, August 1997