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Seminar and Reading Group

Title: Savoir-Faire of the Analyst within the Lacanian Clinic

Facilitator: Dr. Mavis Himes

Mavis Himes is a psychoanalyst in private practice and a clinical consultant at Wellspring, a psycho-social centre for cancer patients and their families. Mavis is also director of Speaking of Lacan Psychoanalytic Group (Toronto) and a member of Apres-Coup Psychoanalytic Association (New York). She is the author of a number of published papers on Lacanian psychoanalysis, as well as The Sacred Body: A Therapist’s Journey, a book about her work in the cancer community.

Title: Savoir-Faire of the Analyst within the Lacanian Clinic

How can we begin to address the complex notion of savoir-faire (know-how) in psychoanalysis? For when we begin to describe what exactly we are ‘doing’ (faire) with this so-called ‘knowledge‘(savoir), we are inevitably confronted with a host of questions related to the psychoanalytic act, the frame of the cure and the knowledge of the analyst.

Savoir-faire is not a technique or a method nor is it the application of a set of standard rules or prescriptive principles. Savoir-faire entails a degree of fluidity within clinical practice while taking its moorings from a particular knowing (savoir) that slides between the gaps of truth, knowledge and the real.

In this seminar and reading series, we will explore and discuss some of the fundamental aspects of savior-faire in psychoanalysis with an emphasis on the singularity of the psychoanalytic act. We will cover the following topics:

  • Savoir-faire of the analyst: between the art of the praxis and the science of the theory
  • Savoir-faire of the analyst: the style of the analyst and the fundamentals of clinical intervention.
  • The psychoanalytic act: What is the essence of the psychoanalytic act? Why act and not process? What qualifies an act as analytical?
  • The psychoanalytic act and creation: What can we learn from other acts of creation? How does the psychoanalytic act differ from that of the creative act? How do we understand the similarities and differences between Freud’s term of sublimation and Lacan’s terms of creation and inventon?

Recommended Readings:

Freud, S. (1911-1915 [1914]) Papers on Technique, vol. XII
Lacan, J. (1955) Variations on the Standard Treatment. Ecrits.
Lacan, J. (1958) The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power, Ecrits.
Lacan, J. (1967-68) The Psychoanalytic Act, Sem. XV. (selected chapters)

Dates: Tuesdays: February 3, 17, March 3, 17, 31, April 14, 28, May 5, 19, 26.

Time: 7:00 – 9:30 p.m.

Place: Innis College, Room 313, 2 Sussex Ave, (two blocks south of Bloor at Huron St.)

Room: 313

Cost: $20.00 ($10.00 for students)

Please register for each session by phone: 416 969 8706, or by e-mail:

Please check location before each session.

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