The Lacan Circle of Australia (previously the Lacan Circle of Melbourne) was founded in 2003 in Melbourne as a professional organisation dedicated to the training of psychoanalysts, the continuing education of clinicians and the pursuit of fundamental research in the Lacanian orientation. At its foundation, membership and activities of the LCM were based largely in Melbourne. Over time, members have joined from around Australia and overseas, to the point where, today, the Lacan Circle’s reach is truly national and international.
The Lacan Circle teaching occurred entirely online during 2020. We are currently resuming in-person activities and presentations, in both Melbourne and Fremantle, Western Australia, but all our activities will remain Zoom accessible.
Through the contributions of its members the Lacan Circle provides the three components of analytic training: study, supervision and personal analysis. Seminars, clinical study days, cartels, presentations and conferences continue the teaching and research essential to the vitality of psychoanalysis in the Lacanian tradition.
As an affiliate of the New Lacanian School (NLS), one of seven schools of the World Association of Psychoanalysis (WAP), the Circle is part of an international community of psychoanalysts and scholars promoting study, teaching and research in the field of Lacanian psychoanalysis. While the primary focus of the Lacan Circle is the clinical field of psychoanalysis, it fosters links with cognate fields – philosophy, literature, studies of religion, the arts, the study of society – with the aim of discerning and understanding the diversity of human life and contemporary forms of modes of enjoyment.
Activities of the Lacan Circle include:
- an ongoing series of structured seminars for the study of psychoanalysis and the training of psychoanalysts;
- an ongoing reading group studying Lacan’s writings, currently Seminar III: The Psychoses;
- themed clinical study days on significant issues for psychoanalysis;
- workshops with colleagues from the World Association of Psychoanalysis;
- international conferences with keynote speakers; and
- cartels or small study groups working together on related themes.
An overview and recent history of all these activities can be found on our Events page.
In the Lacanian orientation, the link between a psychoanalytic organisation and analytic training is more than a formality; its Schools provide both a means of training (analysis, supervision, teaching and research) and an assurance of the quality of the training it provides. For while Lacan declared that ‘a psychoanalyst derives his authorisation only from himself’, there is no such thing as a solitary analyst; he or she depends on being recognised by an Other, even if this Other cannot be reduced to a normative, authoritative, regulatory or standardised Other. A Lacanian School can, and must, provide a guarantee of the quality of the analysts that are the product of its training This recognition is not based on a standardised form of training but on a recognition of the principles that guide the formation of an analyst’s desire.
The art of listening analytically is founded on the principle that the subject is first and foremost a speaking subject; but what makes it analytic listening is that the analyst listens to the speaker as a subject, that is, in his or her singularity and without any presuppositions about complying with social norms or any presumptions concerning ideal outcomes.
There is only one place an analyst can occupy; it is the place in which desire is eternally in question, and it is essential for an analyst to learn through his or her own analysis not to identify with any place of mastery or ideal. Analysis is at cross purposes with such ideals, which are always present in every civilisation but even more insistently so in the contemporary instantiation of the master’s discourse. Handling the transference requires the analyst to refuse to identify with any of the roles that the analysand wants him or her to commit to. To do otherwise is to risk running counter in the most flagrant fashion to the ethics of analysis, encouraging and even reinforcing a return to the prestige of mastery.
Anyone with an interest in psychoanalysis is welcome to participate in activities of the Lacan Circle. If you would like to find out more, or enquire about becoming a member, please contact the president Russell Grigg or the secretary Eugénie Austin.