On maintaining boundaries

Jacques Lacan Seminar VIII

As a follow up to the previous post on Peterson, a reader pointed out that Jonathan Foiles (the author of the critique) seems a much better therapist than Peterson. Based on this post at Psychology Today, in which Foiles comments on Lacan’s Seminar VIII, I have to agree. It points up the seriousness of maintaining therapeutic boundaries.

‘ “I would even say that, up to a certain point, [the analyst’s] lack of comprehension can be preferable to an overly great confidence in his understanding.” (p. 193). In Lacan’s conception, the therapist occupies a similar position to the beloved in that the patient thinks that the therapist has that which they most need. This places the therapist in a position of great power and illuminates why boundary violations can be so damaging to the patient. The patient desires something from the therapist, and their transferential repetition compulsion can cause them to see the therapist as the object of their desire. A successful therapy thus requires the therapist to be aware of this dynamic, not exploit it for their own gain, and to use it to help cure the patient. Lacan sees this fragile dynamic as a key reason for why everyone who seeks to do therapy should first go through an exhaustive therapy themselves.’

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