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About The ACP

Established in 1986, the Australian Centre for Psychoanalysis is a not-for-profit incorporated association dedicated to the practice, study and teaching of psychoanalysis. It is committed to and facilitates the training of analysts and research in the psychoanalytic field established by Sigmund Freud and extended by Jacques Lacan. Registered practising psychoanalysts of the Centre have undergone a program of rigorous study, supervision and personal psychoanalysis.

What is Psychoanalysis?

Sigmund Freud, the creator of psychoanalysis, defined it as the name:

  • Of a procedure for the investigation of mental processes which are almost inaccessible in any other way;
  • Of a method (based upon that investigation) for the treatment of neurotic disorders and;
  • Of a collection of psychological information obtained along those lines, which is gradually being accumulated into a new scientific discipline [‘Two Encyclopedia Articles’, 1923].

This definition is still appropriate today, although as a treatment psychoanalysis is no longer confined to neurotic disorders. Nowadays, it also includes other disorders that contemporary psychiatric classifications have variously called ‘psychoses’, ‘developmental disorders’, ‘anxiety disorders’, ‘depressive disorders’, ‘sexual perversions’ and other forms of mental disturbance, as well as human conflicts and tragedies that do not fit exactly with psychiatric diagnostic categories. The therapeutic field of psychoanalysis has also been extended to the treatment of human beings of all ages who suffer from the most diverse conditions, including those that are typically associated with particular stages in life: childhood, adolescence, adulthood, advanced age.


Psychoanalytic treatment is a radically different approach to seeing issues based upon diagnostic categories (which remain useful conceptual tools). Instead, treatment is founded upon the work of exploration and analysis of the patient’s unconscious, which contains the representatives of those desires and forms of satisfaction that the patient rejects and of which he or she does not want to know. These often end up ruling the patient’s life in ways which are, as Freud points out in his definition, inaccessible to other forms of treatment and research into mental phenomena. In so far as those desires and modes of satisfaction remain under repression or some other form of psychical rejection, they undermine, and even cripple, the person’s efforts in his or her human relations and work. As such, psychoanalytic treatment is oriented by general principles and concerns problems that can be perceived in a great number of individuals, but it cannot be dispensed as a ‘standard’ clinical practice; the workings and pathological effects of the unconscious are unique.

The treatment respects and preserves the singularity of the patient:

The patient’s situation cannot be reduced to any generalised abstraction or compared with the situation of any other patient. The unconscious is not only the cause of distressing and pathological mental products: it is also the source of creative endeavours and constructive human activities: the arts and scientific work, and all forms of social and cultural life that enrich human existence. A psychoanalytic treatment aims at facilitating the emergence and development of the creative capacity that all human beings have and which is thwarted by pathological processes and their combination with adverse, traumatic life situations. Psychoanalysis has also grown since Freud’s time in its applications to fields other than the clinical (although always retaining conceptual and practical links with the different forms of human suffering and their treatment).

As a conceptual and methodological instrument, psychoanalysis is now firmly established in the work of social sciences, philosophy and the study of artistic creations. The training of psychoanalysts of the ACP involves supervised clinical experience and rigorous studies in psychoanalytic theory and practice and other relevant disciplines. But its most important component is the personal analysis of the psychoanalyst-to-be: a personal, intimate experience that enables the prospective analyst, as analysand, to learn from the unconscious and then work creatively with the unconscious in others.

  1. PURPOSE OF THE ACP

    • To regularly hold seminars, conferences and workshops, and promote ongoing research;
    • To publish and distribute psychoanalytic research;
    • To operate a Register of Practising Analysts;
    • To conduct training in psychoanalysis; and
    • To co-operate with similar organisations throughout the world.
  2. GOVERNANCE OF THE ACP

    The ACP is an Australian Incorporated Association with a constitution

    A code of Professional Conduct

    A formal complaints procedure

  3. THE CURRENT COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT IS:

    • Carmelo Scuderi (President)
    • Daniel Davis (Secretary)
    • Barbara Hübl (Treasurer)
    • Julie-Anne Smith
    • Julie Stephens
    • Vaughn Rogers

MEMBERSHIP

The ACP invites applications for membership from those who demonstrate a sustained interest and participation in the Australian Centre for Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalysis. Members of the ACP subscribe to the objects of the ACP Constitution and the Code of Professional Conduct. Applications, supported by two nominations of present members, must be in writing and lodged with the Secretary of the ACP. People applying for membership are interviewed by members of the Committee of Management. Only members of the ACP are eligible to apply for inclusion on the List of Analysts In Training or for inscription on the ACP Register of Practising Analysts.

PARTICIPATION AND AFFILIATION

Anyone with an interest in the study of psychoanalysis is welcome to participate in the public activities of the Centre.

LIBRARY

The Centre’s Library is open to all ACP members and students.

For further information contact: serena.smith@psychoanalysis.org.au

THEME FOR 2021:

THE CHOICE OF SEX AND THE UNCONSCIOUS

“It is from the Imaginary in so far as the Imaginary is the false second, with respect to the Real, in so far as the male in the speaking being is not the female, and that he has no other angle from which to posit himself. Only these are not angles with which we can be satisfied. It has got to the point that one can say that the unconscious is defined by this and by nothing else but this: that it knows more than this truth and that the man is not the woman.”



(Seminar XXI, Les non-dupes errent, 15th January 1974)



The choice of sex and the unconscious continues as the Centre's theme for the year, and this seems justified given the far-reaching relevance of such a theme in today’s world of endless choices and the associated challenges to the subject’s gender identification and sexual orientation. Lacan corrects Freud by telling us that there is no destiny, only a choice of how the subject finds an orientation in relation to the signifier of desire, the phallus. By definition sexuation implies this choice, but this choice is not an easy one. Freud knew that there was a beyond of anatomical conformity and that the drive, always masculine, was implicated. However, the concept of jouissance, the real of the unconscious, means that the choice is made in relation to how the subject enjoys. It has never been clearer than today that sexuation, (and the word implies choosing a sex), is always difficult for the subject and imaginary identifications are not enough. What is the sexed subject today if his or her sexuation is not determined by the identification of gender or the anatomical sex? And what of the psychotic subject? How does the psychotic find a solution to the problem of choice of sex if jouissance cannot be orientated by the phallus? What can he or she do when confronted by the need to make a choice? What is the future of the sexed subject, neurotic or psychotic?

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