THE PRINCIPLE OF SUPERVISION IN THE SCHOOL
Document elaborated by the Committee of Action
7 October 2000
This document is a platform to launch and to participate in the political debate in the heart of the international community of the School One. It has a precise conceptual frame: the training of the analysts in the Schools of the WAP, and a defined political frame: the diagnosis made by the Delegate General on the effects of the logic of desegregation introduced by the deregulation of the praxis, and the decision to carry on a politics which opposes it.1.POLITICS VERSUS REGULATION.
Among the principles which support the founding of the School One, and upon which the School relies, to attend to its working goals, the principles for supervision should also be placed there.
Jacques Lacan, as well as Sigmund Freud, includes supervision within the field of the praxis and doctrine of pure psychoanalysis. On the other hand, the link between the School and the training of the analyst is not just a question of mere formality. Moreover it is a means to approach the structure which articulates the analyst and his/her training ( analysis, supervision and teachings) with the Gradus of AMS and AS which the School grants as guarantee for training.
In 1964, Lacan considered that the responsibility of the School was implicated in the entrance of a subject into analysis and by the consequences that such entry entailed. Lacan states this, leaving aside all misunderstanding: " For the School, at whatever moment the subject enters into analysis, must place that fact into the balance with the responsibility that it cannot refuse its consequences" (J.Lacan: Founding Act)
By the same token, and recognizing that the existing supervision regulations in the Institutes of the IPA depend on political, bureaucratic and prejudicial factors, a reason in itself for the violation of the constituted rule, Lacan does not propose a new regulation to us. Thus, he shows us that there is a difference between regulation and politics.
The School does not formulate any kind of regulation, however, it must have a politics of analytic supervision. This issue, not only includes the duty to evaluate the demand and practice of supervision of the training analyst
but, and above all, the effects and results of this practice among the members of the analytic community of the School, as an experience.
The Committee of Action considers that this politics constitutes an ethical duty of the School.
Nowadays, in the Schools of the Lacanian Orientation of the WAP, the regulation of supervision is not susceptible to violation, by the very simple reason that there is no statutory regulation concerning this. In the same way, the inexistence of a politics for supervision can be verified as well.
It is about defining a politics which is disjunctive from a regulation, such is the situation in the schools proposed to us.
In the Founding Act, the supervision of training analysts is one of the three sub-sections of the Section for Pure Psychoanalysis that Jacques Lacan establishes in this act. This should act as balance against the misuses which deviate from Lacan's fundamental principle: "the psychoanalyst derives his authorization only from himself".
In the context of the world today, in which deregulation has been widespread in the most diverse domains, the School One, faithful to the ethics of psychoanalysis, must raise a politics in relation to supervision of the analysands in training, so that - as it happens with the style of the standardised regulations of the IPA- the ethics we postulate are not ignored, nor the principles with which we operate in our practice.
The relocation of supervision in the School is a position of principle and a tool which will counter the effect of the sloping tendency towards leveling in order to preserve pure psychoanalysis.
2. TRAINING AND GUARANTEE
The School, following the arguments stated by Lacan when he founded the EFP, does not regulate the practice of supervision, does not establish a list of analysts for supervision, they are designated de facto by the demands directed to them.
Without aiming at turning this process into a compulsory one, the School must offer the possibility of a "qualified" supervision to anyone who demands it.
Supervision, as part of the training, is a responsibility that each one has to assume at his own risk in so much as each one is in psychoanalysis and has committed his own practice with the experience of the School. One cannot do without supervision, on the condition of learning to make use of it.
By tilting institutional prudence towards the side of ethical duty and not towards of that of promulgated standards, the practice of supervision and the School are linked up: "That the School can guarantee the analyst's relationship to the training that it provides is thus established. It can and hence must. " (J.Lacan. Proposition…)
However, there is a paradox in the practice in reference to training.: the School is committed to ensure training, which can be guaranteed when it comes to it, even though the means, by which this guaranteed training is ensured, does not appear to be very obvious.
In relation to supervision, no instance or device keeps a watch over the progress of this practice. Only the Commissions of the Guarantee foreseeing the "a posteriori" effects of guaranteeing the question of the training of analysts take the regular practice of supervision seriously into account especially when they have to nominate an analyst as AMS, as an analyst who has proved him/herself. At the time of the admission (of the AMS), the Commission of the Guarantee, while evaluating the state of the training of the one who is about to enter the School, places a great emphasis on the issue of supervision.
In the interval, which is precisely the effective time of training, the School does not have a direct incidence on this crucial matter.
Can the indifference that most Schools have shown towards this matter be necessarily the consequence of the absence of institutional regulations?
However, in the different Schools, there are Commissions of the Guarantee, and members too, that have taken up this theme as part of their teachings. But their warnings, although repeated in most cases, did not have enough resonance to awaken an institutional debate or make a change to its course on this matter 1.
There is silence around supervision and we have to consider that as a problem of the School, and this is saying that:
a)supervision keeps a necessary relationship with analysis for the purpose of training, and its exercise does not escape that "almost bureaucratic regularity" that supports psychoanalysis;
b) while analysis is terminable, the training of the analyst can be considered interminable, in resonance with "the desire to know" that animates it, a desire which having no common measure, does not prevent each one persevering to sustain it, in order to contribute to the common cause;
c) it forms part of the guarantees that the School ensures as an aim for training. The titles of AMS and AS do not guarantee, by themselves, that the exercise of supervision is animated by the desire " never at rest", which is inherent to psychoanalytic practice;
d) it is a way of declining, in the grammatical sense, the desire of the analyst: in its double slope: the desire of 'the analyst in training'[formacion] and 'the formation of the desire of the analyst', given that it is to be produced;
e) the School, when offering the possibility that their members declare their practice, is not a making a neutral offer, it requires a commitment; the fact that the School does not prejudge, nor qualify, nor guarantee this practice, does not free the declaring from the ethical dimension implied in this declaration, which brings with it a performative weight;
f) " Supervision has no value if it limits itself only to rule the training analyst's relationship with patients. Supervision is worth nothing if it is not pursued beyond it, that is, to his/her relationship with psychoanalysis" (J.A. Miller in El banquete de los Analistas)
g) The principle by which a psychoanalyst derives his authorization only from himself does not mean that the psychoanalytic effects, which are constant in our practice, remain outside supervision.
The question of supervision which produces institutional impasses requires debate at the present moment. It also requires that the results, with the experience of the Schools, should be openly evaluated.
3.SUPERVISION : THE CURRENT POSITION
It is quite different from supervising "a case": a subject ( I underline) who is exceeded by his act, that is nothing, while if he exceeds his act, he creates "the incapacity that we see flowering in the garden of the psychoanalysts; J.Lacan, Discours a l' EFP
The scene of the Schools of the WAP shows a regular spread and discreet use, over many years, with one or several supervisors at different times. The difficulties of day-to-day practice are discussed, together with the long term follow-up of the same case.
However, there is a certain consensus that recognises that, to a large extent, this practice occurs in an irregular way. This practice is caused more by the urgencies of the case and/or the subjective urgency of the one who demands it, than by the conviction of its necessary relationship with the formation of the psychoanalyst, the desire to know. And in each one,this would lead to want to verify the orientation of their practice. Supervision clearly shows the frequent confusion which arises between psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in those who begin their training as analysts.
It can also be shown how the trainees slide into psychotherapy when they claim to be practising psychoanalysis.
This outface seems to indicate a difficulty, with the immediate result that the practitioner conforms to rules which are not understood, reducing supervision to the level of a technical exercise, rather than having a proper analytic supervision.
Supervision is not the search for a technical solution nor the adjustment to the tactics, but it is the verification of the strategy and of the position of the practitioner in relation to the transference and of the politics which allows the extraction of the logic of the treatment. We can say then that there exists the risk of a sliding from the analytic supervision into a psychotherapeutic supervision.
It is also verified that the members with the longest length of practice exercise sporadic supervision and others stop at a certain moment of their training. It can be observed that there is a structural problem in reference to the position of the analyst and the desire to know which has been studied and must be looked at again.
The demands for ready-made (pret-a-porter) supervisions are multiplied, that search for the solution to a dramatic critical moment. There are continuous changes of "supervisors" as they search for "specialised" supervisors in children, adolescents, psychosis, anorexia, etc; there are also "political" supervisors who are supposed to obtain certain institutional advantages.
4. A NEW DYNAMIC
The debate on the exercise of supervision, which has been in the foreground in the work initiated within the frame of the School One, is, as J.A. Miller has pointed out, in the direction of the need "to formulate a theory of training which takes the pass into account, but does not unilateralise training, only on the side of the pass".
The reinstatement of the practice of supervision in our vast community and within the beforementioned framework is not about formalizing a
close watch over supervision, but of propitiating what it is; the continuous commentary of the act of the analyst. It is an instrument that the practitioner possesses, to verify the particular approach of the real, which is obtained by the analytic operation. It is also a possible place of verification of the efficacy of psychoanalysis.
It is about imprinting a new dynamic to the formation of the psychoanalyst in the Schools of the WAP. More than new rules, it is about "organizing the contingency" 2. It is about encouraging the Schools in the generalized and reasoned practice of the encounter.
The treatment, the Cartel, the teachings and supervision itself are devices that are ready to receive the spark of the cause that Psychoanalysis postulates. It is about placing, in an appropriate relationship, the barred Other and the safeguarding of the guarantees which are deduced from the barred Other, that is, making use of the barred Other to renew the structure in its entirety. It is about actively producing the means "to arouse the libido towards the practice of supervision" (J.A. Miller) and correlatively not allowing any lightening of the exigencies that must fall upon the practitioners of psychoanalysis, as long as psychoanalysis commits them.
To channel in each one the discipline that psychoanalysis demands, and, at the same time to preserve the fact that supervision gives rise to a surprise effect, to a subjective effect, is an impact that no standard as such should petrify.
On the way to maintaining intact the constant energy of the drive 3, of which the analytic discourse is the agent, proceeding to the examination and the updating of the function of supervision, will contribute to strengthen the solidarity of the guarantees 4 of which the School One forms part.
Committee of Action
Lucia D'Angelo (Barcelona)
Luis Erneta (Buenos Aires)
Leda Guimaraes (Salvador – Bahía)
Jean Pierre Klotz (Bordeaux)
Ronald Portillo (Caracas)
Massimo Recalcati (Milano)
Paulo Siqueira (París)
Mauricio Tarrab (Buenos Aires)
Pierre Theves (París)
1 Dossier de la Garantia EOL 1999.
2 Eric Laurent 1 Conversation de
Paris, "L'Ecole respire mal". Octobre 1997
3 Palabras de Freud en Budapest en 1918
4 J.A. Miller Lettre mensuelle, 112, Septembre 92
Translated by Susana Tillet from the original Spanish text.
18 October 2000