On October 23, 2005, in New York City, we presented the first Clinical Study Days of the World Association of Psychoanalysis in the United States. The theme of the CSD was “The Body in Psychoanalysis” and featured the participation of Vicente Palomera.

The program was held in conjunction with the Ninth International Seminar of the Freudian Field sponsored by the New York Freud-Lacan Study Group with Vicente Palomera on “The Subject, The Body, and Jouissance.” Our Clinical Study Days featured three case presentations with discussion.

The first presentation was made by Pam Jespersen Elliott (Omaha, Nebraska) of a treatment in which the patient’s insistent silence was presented as the greatest challenge in the treatment. The case was also notable for a series of traumas the analysand experienced and the development of an unusual conversion symptom late in the treatment. The difficulties faced within the conduct of the treatment were linked in the subsequent discussion–led by Liliana Kruszel (Member, NEL; Miami, Florida) to the struggle faced by the clinician with the diagnosis itself, especially with regard to the recognition of the structure of ordinary psychosis in the case.

The second case presented by Carmen Navarro (Member, NEL; Houston, Texas) was of an analysis conducted for two years with an analysand with overwhelming anxiety, anxiety which was modulated in the treatment with the stabilizing assumption of a paternal identification. In the discussion–led by Juan Felipe Arango (Member, NEL; Miami, Florda)–we examined this particular use of the Name of the Father and put the dramatic therapeutic effects of the case in the context of the overall analytic direction of the treatment.

The third case was presented by Maria Lopez (Miami, Florida) was of an autistic child who, over a seven year treatment, developed the use of language and the ability to tolerate the Other, initially in form of the analyst, through a remarkable treatment. The discussion–led by Yael Baldwin (West Carrolton, Georgia)–focussed on the specific structure of autism and the theorization of the efficacy of this treatment.

The Cases were preceded by Opening Remarks of Alicia Arenas (Member, NEL; Miami, Florida) on the role of the School on the challenges of psychoanalysis today. Thomas Svolos (Member, NLS; Omaha, Nebraska) gave Closing Remarks on how the earlier Seminar and the Clinical Study Days demonstrated the singular role of the School in the transmission of psychoanalysis. The program was held at Fordham University, thanks to the generosity of Manya Steinkoler. It was followed by an elegant lunch in the Trustee’s Dining Room of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which offered further time for informal discussion. The program was attended by over 30 people from many states (and countries), mostly psychoanalysts and other clinicians.

We believe that this Clinical Study Days represent a significant turning point for the development of psychoanalysis in the United States. First: this was the first general gathering specifically directed to the Members of the WAP in the United States, some of us meeting one another for the first time. Second: through the Clinical Study Days, we gave testimony to our colleagues of the vital work done within the Schools in addressing the symptoms and clinical demands of today. Participants less familiar with the contemporary work of the AMP–even some with significant exposure to Lacanian psychoanalysis–commented on the ways in which we put to use various theories developed out of the practice we are engaged in today. The contemporary work of the WAP has little exposure in the United States, and we feel that events such as this are important in demonstrating the value of such work. That said, perhaps even more important was the way in which the clinical discussions demonstrated what was referred to as “the direction of transmission and the principles of its power,” namely that the transmission of psychoanalysis is not one of an application of the theory of psychoanalysis or the knowledge we have as psychoanalysts to particular cases. Rather, our practice is developed and transmitted from the specificity of each clinical encounter, the way in which each case develops in its singularity–to which we respond not so much with knowledge, but ideally with a certain know-how, one that we can transmit to one another.

This is the direction of the transmission of psychoanalysis (from the analysand to the analyst), which events such as this will bring to the United States and which was also commented on by several participants. Already, we have seen some effects of the CSD. There is a new demand in the NYFLAG group for a Clinical Seminar. There were also requests for participants for references to concepts such as ordinary psychosis that were brought out in the meeting. Also, new demands for supervision from the Members of the WAP have followed. Following the CSD and lunch, the Coordination Committee met for a review of the event.

We will now plan for a Second Clinical Study Days for early November, 2006, in Miami, Florida. We will plan to regularly host such a meeting in early November, which will coincide with the Journees held in other places throughout the World. We hope that this will become a key event to gather the Members of the WAP and those interested in the Lacanian orientation in the United States.

Coordination Committee of CSD 1:

Thomas Svolos
Maria-Cristina Aguirre
Alicia Arenas