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Against Understanding, Volume 2

Cases and Commentary in a Lacanian Key

By Bruce Fink

Routledge – 2013 – 278 pages

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  • Add to CartPaperback: $51.95
    October 9th 2013
  • Add to CartHardback: $190.00
    October 16th 2013


Against Understanding, Volume 2, casts a spotlight on the status of case studies in psychoanalysis, which are commonly used to illustrate clinicians’ expertise and mastery rather than patients’ actual itineraries. When a case is presented, the complex, unwieldy, and often self-contradictory material of a therapeutic trajectory is often vastly oversimplified in view of producing a linear narrative that seems perfectly to fit the parameters of a practitioner’s preferred theoretical framework.

Bruce Fink attempts to eschew the appearance of "mastery" in assembling clinical material and in discussing his approach to practice and theory in the myriad case histories and vignettes included in both Volumes 1 & 2 of Against Understanding. To counterbalance the kind of paring down of material usually carried out to make cases conform to a particular paradigm, the case write-ups presented here include much of the "raw data" so often omitted: verbatim quotes from patients about their lives, backgrounds, dreams, and fantasies; and details about the many obscure, vacillating, and unruly phases of treatment. Fink hopes thereby to allow readers to form their own opinions about the well-foundedness or unsoundness of his formulations, interpretations, and interventions.

This second part of a two-volume collection of papers, interviews, and case studies provides the reader with hundreds of illustrations of Lacanian theory in practice, and will be essential for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and counselors.


"In this important book, Bruce Fink shows with characteristic elegance and thoughtfulness how Lacanian psychoanalysis is no mere intellectual abstraction but a real and powerful framework for clinical practice."

Darian Leader, Psychoanalyst, Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research, London, UK

"Bruce Fink provides us here with an impressive exploration of the Lacanian approach to psychoanalysis, in which the epistemic specificity of psychoanalysis starting with Freud is never forgotten. The clarity and the alertness of the style, the numerous and always instructive clinical cases, and the enlightening commentaries on difficult texts, provide easy access to the most complex and controversial topics: the effectiveness of speech, the pathways of interpretation, semblance, and the aims of treatment as regards desire, jouissance, love, violence, and even … men and women!"

Colette Soler, The School of the Forums of the Lacanian Field, Paris, France


Contents. Preface. Acknowledgments. Commentary. On Clinical Practice. 1. Analysand and Analyst in the Global Economy, or Why Anyone in their Right Mind Would Pay for an Analysis. 2. What’s So Different about Lacan’s Approach to Psychoanalysis? 3. Fantasies and the Fundamental Fantasy: An Introduction. 4. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis. 5. Why Diagnose? A Few Reflections on Diagnosis. On Reading Lacan. 6. An Introduction to Lacan’s Seminar XVIII: D’un discours qui ne serait pas du semblant. 7. Lacan on Personality from the 1930s to the 1950s. 8. An Introduction to "Kant with Sade". 9. Freud and Love on Love: A Preliminary Exploration. On Translation. 10. The Task of Translation. Cases. 11. In the Wake of Medea: A Case of Obsession from a Lacanian Perspective. 12. The Role of Semblance in "Identity" Construction. 13. The Freud Man and the Fundamental Fantasy. 14. Contours of Trauma. Critique. 15. Interview: Lacan in America (Loren Dent). 16. Interview: A Few Words with the Editors of MonoKL. 17. Violence in Psychoanalysis. References. Index.

Author Bio

Bruce Fink is a practicing Lacanian psychoanalyst and analytic supervisor in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He trained as a psychoanalyst in France for seven years with—and is now a member of—the psychoanalytic institute Lacan created shortly before his death, the École de la Cause Freudienne in Paris. He is also an affiliated member of the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Society and Institute.

Related Subjects

  1. Lacan
  2. Psychoanalysis

Name: Against Understanding, Volume 2: Cases and Commentary in a Lacanian Key (Paperback)Routledge 
Description: By Bruce Fink. Against Understanding, Volume 2, casts a spotlight on the status of case studies in psychoanalysis, which are commonly used to illustrate clinicians’ expertise and mastery rather than patients’ actual itineraries. When a case is...
Categories: Lacan, Psychoanalysis