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According to Clemens and Grigg (2006), psychoanalysis is the medicine’s last flower. The well-established diagnoses have come about as a result of psychoanalysis over the years. The human body structure, the way one thinks and the way human beings relate with each other are the structures that dictate the phenomenon of madness. Sigmund Freud and Jacquez Lacan are among the great contributors to this field of study. Sigmund Freud’s contribution to this field included his theory on the three structures of madness. Lacan, on the other hand, introduced the theory of divided subjects and the principles of four discourses.
Freud’s three structures of madness
According to Freud (1937), the three structures that exist in relation to human madness include neurotics, perversion, and psychosis.
In relation to the neurotic symptom, Freud identified the symptoms to be associated with obsessive behavior, compulsive behavior, phobias, as well as inhibition that were neurotic in nature. One of the characteristics of the structure is a libidinal satisfaction that is unconscious and relatively distorted.
The other structure of madness may take the form of perversion. Pervasive tendencies arise where a person’s behavior does not correspond to normal behavior. According to Freud (1937), a perversion is normally associated with sexuality. He concluded that most humans have perverse tendencies, which are natural and inborn. However, perversion varies among human beings as it is subject to a developmental process. In other words, this condition does not come from initial manifestations but is a product of a developmental process. In relation to psychotics, the patient loses touch with reality and deviates from normal behavior. The formation of condition of psychosis comes about unconsciously and takes up a permanent form (Freud, 1937).
Lacan’s divided subject and the four principle of discourse
The principle of the subject is one of the most important concepts in the study of Lacan’s thoughts. The purpose of the subject according to Lacan’s was to separate his ideology from the post Freudian interpretation of psychoanalysis in terms of the ego and treatment (Clemens and Grigg, 2006). According to Lacan, the subject was a symbolic order whilst the ego was associated with the imaginary order.
In Lacan’s teaching his main consideration involved the tension that existed between determination and decision-making. In this case, it entailed who the subject was and what makes the object of the decision. Arising from the structure of the signifier, the subject receives the determination. In this case the structure of language makes the determination as whether he is or not a subject under the three modes which are psychotic, pervasive and neurotic (Clemens and Grigg, 2006).
The principle of four discourses assumes that human beings continuously communicate, therefore, the process of communication is a failure. According to Clemens and Grigg, (2006), there would be no need for communication if everyone understood each other. Lacan defines a discourse as the determinant of concrete speech that comes before the spoken words. The four principles of discourse involve the four positions associated with speech.
The first position of any discourse comes about when somebody talks (agent). The second position arises when the agent directs his speech to someone else (other). The product is the third position, which involves the result of the discourse. The fourth position is the one that has psychoanalysis relevance. The fourth position is the position of truth (Clemens and Grigg, 2006).
Clemens, J., and Grigg, R. (2006) Jacques Lacan and the Other Side of Psychoanalysis: Reflections on Seminar XVII. Durham : Duke University Press.
Freud, S. (1937). The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense. London: Hogarth Press.