Why Speak?

Saturday September 1st 2018,

Treacy Centre, 126 The Avenue, Parkville 3052.

9.00am- 4.00 pm


“Whether it wishes to be an agent of healing, training, or sounding the depths, psychoanalysis has but one medium: the patient’s speech. The obviousness of this fact is no excuse for ignoring it.” (Jacques Lacan)

“Now, if these things are true, as you know they are, surely you see how much less words are to be valued than that on account of which we use words.” (St Augustine)

Psychoanalysis finds its hesitant beginnings in the therapeutic field as a “talking cure” in which the fundamental rule was to speak as freely as possible, without constraint or censorship. This gave clear precedence to the act of speech and that which arises from speaking. This year the School returns to the not self-evident question of what constitutes the function, field and limitations of speech and language in psychoanalysis whereby talking begins to exceed the parameters of the “cure” as such.


The focus of the School’s work in 2018 will be Lacan’s written work The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis, delivered as 2 papers at the Rome Congress of 1953. This early and complex text, part critique, part diatribe, part poetry, remains inexhaustible in its richness; brimming with a kind of excess which is characteristic of Lacan’s style and the critique it constituted of the moribundly conservative tendencies in the psychoanalytic field. We find there Lacan taking up a critique which is evident through to the end of his teaching, endeavouring to restore to the experience of psychoanalysis the creative possibilities resident in the act of speaking.


Whilst perhaps mistakenly situated as a “talking cure”, the experience of psychoanalysis which the Lacanian critique directs us to is of a function of speech which engages the analysand in a richness of the language which inhabits them, pushing it to its limits and encountering there its creative possibilities.

The members of the School will present the fruit of their engagement with this subject of speech and language which remains enigmatically central to the psychoanalytic experience.


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The Freudian School of Melbourne's Homage – Annual Conference

Why Speak? – 2018



View map – Treacy Centre


“It is the order explored beginning with my experience, I remind you, that has led me to this

infernal triad “

Jacques Lacan.