Lieven Jonckheere Seminar


Saturday, March 23, 2013 – 10:00 to 12:30
Edith Stein Room, St. Terese’s, Clarendon Street, Dublin 2

“AUTISME À DEUX in the case of Donna Williams”

In one of his last seminars, Lacan warns against the danger of the psychoanalytic cure degenerating into some form of folie à deux (madness with two) – for which he coins the neologism autisme à deux (autism with two) (1979 [1976-1977], 20). This has especially to do with the fact that the impact of the signifier in the unconscious implies that in the long run on parle tout seul (we all speak all alone) (1978 [1976-1977], 9) – what Jacques-Alain Miller radicalized as l’autisme de la parole (the autism of speaking) (unpublished [2006-2007], lesson 07/03/2007). This is what free association ultimately confronts the analysant with. But on the other hand the interpretation also may have some autistic trait about it, in so far as the desire of the analyst at work in this interpretation remains rooted in his fantasm (according to a comment of Lacan on his Seminar XV(1985 [1968], 9).). And this is, I guess, the meeting point from where on a psychoanalytic cure runs the risk of suffering irreducibly of an autisme à deux, as Lacan suggests.
In order to be able to illustrate this point with the final impasse of a particular form of psychoanalytic cure – which limits itself to making sense out of unconscious formations, neglecting the real of enjoyment – we first should have a thorough look at a clinical case of autisme à deux. Indeed, autisme à deux is not an uncommon phase in what we could call the self-treatment of people labelled ‘autistic’. So we will enter at length in the autisme à deux in the case of the woman who, at the end of 1990’s, emerged as a kind of prima donna of autism – I mean Donna Williams. It took some time before her staggering autobiographical accounts of her own autism came to be taken seriously by Lacanian psychoanalysis. No doubt this is the merit of Eric Laurent (2012, 2012) and Jean-Claude Maleval (2007, 2012), our helmsmen in what to us is still the troubled waters of autism. What can an autist like Donna Williams teach us concerning autisme à deux?

Lieven Jonckheere is a doctor in clinical psychology (dissertation on Lacan’s theory of anxiety) and a lecturer in psychology at the Dutch speaking University College Ghent (Belgium). He is also a psychoanalyst in private practice in Ghent and a very active member of the Kring voor Psychoanalyse van de New Lacanian School (as a former president and as responsible for the theoretical Seminar which elaborates Jacques-Alain Millers lacanian orientation). He publishes regularly in iNWiT, the Dutch-speaking Journal of the New Lacanian School.

Venue: Edith Stein Room, St. Terese’s, Clarendon Street, Dublin 2.
Entrance through Priory Café (formerly Bell Café) opposite Brown Thomas Car Park
(For further details contact Eve Watson at 087 9678965 or Mary Barry at 086 7849145)
APPI Members €20, Non-Members €25, Students €10