Lacan's return to Schreber

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McCoy, Stephen
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MA in Psychoanalysis
Dublin Business School
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This thesis will endeavour to explore the factors that contribute to the outbreak of a psychosis and the phenomena that such an experience entails. To do so I will approach the topic from a Freudian / Lacanian perspective laying particular emphasis on Freud's account of the Schreber case as outlined in 'Psycho-Analytic Notes on an Autobiographical Account of a Case of Paranoia' and Lacan's seminar 'The Psychoses' (1955-1956). A brief history, and some background information on the Schreber family, is given at the beginning of the thesis with various references made to the members thereafter in the context of a theory of psychosis. It is considered here that Freud's understanding of the psychoses was limited to his knowledge of libido theory at the time in which he published his writings on the Schreber case. However, Freud asserts that in psychosis we are once again the on ground of the father complex. The function of the father was not considered in all its aspects at the time that Freud wrote the case. It is argued here that this gap in knowledge would appear to have been filled by Lacan, some years later, through his use of what he proffers as the three orders, The Symbolic, The Imaginary and The Real. It is put forward here that Lacan successfully elucidates precisely what constitutes a psychotic structure and what fashions the outbreak of a psychotic break down. His emphasis on the linguistic nature of the unconscious is examined with regard to the psychotic structure and how an unfolding of meaning takes place in the absence of a certain key signifier. Towards the end of the thesis some observations on the treatment of psychosis in psychoanalysis will be made.