Report on the 34th Pont Freudien meeting held in
Montreal on October 26-27-28 2012
Alexandre Stevens : Ordinary Psychosis and Stabilisations
by the Imaginary
By Anne Béraud
Alexandre Stevens spoke in Montreal first for a conference
entitled La solitude moderne ou le chaque-Un tout seul (Modern
Solitude or the Each-One All Alone) that brought together
about fifty people, then in a Freudian Field theoretical seminar
Ordinary Psychosis and Stabilizations by the Imaginary,
which was attended by 28 people. The activities took place in a
classroom of the University of Québec in Montréal, in a relaxed
and friendly atmosphere, where Alexandre Stevens’ rigorous style,
with lots of precise clinical examples, allowed the audience to
hear the questions in play. The people attending the conference
and the seminars participated fully by their questions and
The conference was introduced by Ruzanna Hakobyan. She
referred to her first encounter with A. Stevens, thirteen years
ago, in Yerevan, Armenia, which was her first encounter with
Lacanian psychoanalysis. It determined her future professional
During the conference La solitude moderne ou le chaque-Un tout
seul (Modern Solitude or the Each-One All Alone), A. Stevens
firstly reminded the audience that the paternal function, in
articulating desire and law, sustains legitimate jouissances and
allows to built the ideals proper to them. But the exception of
the Father is not set any more. The consumer object now replaces
the paternal function, leaving the subject alone. The consumer
object metonymizes itself and supports the desire to obtain it,
forming a pseudo-ideal that is not an ideal. Lacan referred to
this quite early and responded to it with the pluralization of the
Names-of-the-Father. It is to each one to make something fit
(bricoler) in this place. It is to each subject to give themselves
their own references, to construct their sinthome, for example- a
woman as a symptom for a man. Also, A. Stevens developed the
aspect of the ” Un-tout seul ”, referring to the example given
by Jacques-Alain Miller concerning addiction as the root of the
symptom, thus demonstrating the reiteration of the same One (the
alcoholic always drinks the same glass : 1+1+1+1…). A. Stevens
concluded the conference by explaining the analytical symptom, the
side of sense with its hidden truth and the side of jouissance of
the trace that repeats itself in spite of the subject, taking the
example of the pass testimony of Jacqueline Dhéret’s (Les miettes
During the reading seminar, Alexandre Stevens commented on Chapter
VI, « Je te demande de me refuser ce que je t’offre » (” I
ask you to refuse me what I offer you ”), of Lacan’s Seminar
XIX … ou pire. This commentary is part of the cycle of our
monthly seminar at the Pont Freudien this year where we study
A. Stevens commented this chapter in a very detailed manner,
starting with the ” lettre d’amur ’’:
” Between man and woman
There is love.
Between man and love,
There is a world.
Between man and the world,
There is a wall. ” 1
As so many ways of saying that there is no sexual rapport, which
permitted A. Stevens to unfold the architecture of the demand of
love: ” I ask you to refuse me what I offer you because it is not
A. Stevens reminded us that love includes hate. Hate is not the
opposite of love. That is what Freud named ambivalence and he
indicated that the opposite of love is indifference. In the
foundation of ” I love you ”, there is hate because ” I want
something to be torn from you and that makes for me a place ”,
thus the demand for love includes hate, from which Lacan invented
the term ” hainamoration ”.
From the writing of this sentence in the form of a propositional
function, then in the form of a borromean knot – the first in
Lacan’s teaching – from that knot of sense (demanding, offering,
refusing), we see object (a) appear: ” I ask you to refuse me
what I offer you because it is not that what I desire”. ” It is
not that ” is the object that is without a name and it is
extricated from the demanding/offering/refusing knot. The object
(a) is bonded by this ensemble.
During the clinical seminar, Geneviève Houde and Tahar Amghar each
presented a case they worked on in institutional setups. Both were
related to triggered, but not full-blown psychosis. Both cases
revealed a metonymic delirium. In the first, presented by
Geneviève Houde, the delirium concerned a non-stop
research for names of sicknesses, but where no name would not stop
the delirium. Poison and treatment at the same time, this was the
main support of the subject. The second case, presented by Tahar
Amghar, revealed a subject for whom suicidal attempts were a
point of support for making a call to the Other whose suppléance
was constituted by the institutional circuit of which the
emergency departments were a part.
During the theoretical seminar on Ordinary Psychosis and
Stabilisations by the Imaginary, A. Stevens took up
again the syntagma of ordinary psychosis, a pragmatic category
invented by Jacques-Alain Miller inspired by Lacan’s last
teaching, thus in a clinic of continuity, but that remains no less
on the side of psychosis in a structural clinic. The elementary
phenomena contains all the structure of psychosis, it come to
point the moment when the Imaginary falls apart. The incessant
metonymy as the same structure. Is ordinary psychosis a psychosis
without elementary phenomena?
A. Stevens unfolded the list of indices of forclusion indicated in
J.-A. Miller’s article « Effet retour sur la psychose ordinaire »
in Quarto No 94-95 : indices by the social link (disconnection,
shiftings), indices that remove the idea of self and indices by
the relation to the body.
Starting from generalized forclusion, where, at the beginning, the
Father operates for no one, we spot which trait stabilizes the
subject as such. The traits of absolute singularity of a subject
(as presented in the pass testimonies), are they different from
the elementary phenomena? The difference consists in the fact that
it is not attributed to the Other (it does not have the dash at
the beginning of a line like in the example of ”- Truie”, taken
from Lacan’s Seminar III).
In ordinary psychosis, when the imaginary axis succeeds, there is
a normalization effect.
A. Stevens declined the different forms of imaginary
stabilizations: the imaginary idea of a community; the
hallucinatory phenomena of imaginary split personality, like in
the case of Donna Williams; the markings on the body (piercings
and tattoos like clips or staples on the body) that can stabilize
a body that flees and permits to hold the subject to the body.
Body markings do not necessarily designate a psychosis, but with
psychotics there is something that can’t be stopped while
neurotics have a limitation principal.
Before proposing to us a schema of generalized forclusion, A.
Stevens concluded the seminar by talking about James Joyce who
used the letter to fabricate a body within the literary corpus.
Father | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
| | | | | | | | delusional metaphor
suppléance Imaginary sinthome crutches
The participants, delighted by this intense work, longly applauded
Alexandre Stevens. We will continue our work on ordinary psychosis
with Guy Briole in March 2013 and with Dominique
Holvoet en April 2013.
1- Jacques Lacan, Je parle
aux murs, Ed. du Seuil, 2011. p.98.
Montreal, november 4th 2012.
Translated from the French by David Riffin and