Re: Lacanian Psychotherepy and female desire

Vicki Martin (
Fri, 18 Apr 1997 06:00:32 -1000 (HST)

Thanks ever so much for the suggestion and the help in understanding how
Kelly's theory might deal with it. POWRL is the Psychology of Women
Resources Line a really great list. Think I agree with you about the
scope of this paper, I am beginning to doubt my own sanity!

Vicki Martin

On Tue, 15 Apr 1997, Chris Evans wrote:

> On 14 Apr 97 at 20:16, Vicki Martin wrote:
> It was suggested through POWRL that I contact members of the PCP
> > list for information on the following. I am a student at the
> > University of Hawai'i majoring in psychology.
> >
> > I am in the process of writing a paper for a graduate level feminist
> > theory class dealing with Lacan's theory of psychotherapy, and its
> > value in describing female desire. My question is two part, first
> > is there another theory out that that adequately explains female
> > desire. The second part of this question is, is there a theory that
> > does this without delving into psychotherapy and the unconscious. I
> > will be eternally grateful for any help with this.
> >
> Wow. Having had the most wonderfully supportive response to my admin
> message of this morning I am taking my admin. hat off for a moment!
> I'm fascinated that Vicki was advised to come here! What's POWRL?
> Above all I love the idea that we get to grips with the Lacanian
> construction of the world, psychotherapy, unconscious, desire and
> gender! All in one go!!
> Vicki -- have a look through the archives
> (
> for recent discussions of feminism and "craziness" here. My summary
> would be that _Personal_ constructivists would see this (desire) as
> a personal construct which we each bring into being some how to help
> us cope with the world by "anticipating" its vagaries as best we can
> (that includes our own vagaries, which, depending how radical a
> constructivsit you are, may be partly "biological" i.e. perhaps
> "outside" or beyond reconstruction (orgasms anyone?!)
> To the extent that we believe we're a social species (I don't think a
> hardline individualist would be on the list, by definition?!) we also
> construe each others' construing (not the same thing as "knowing" the
> other's construction) and our own construing arises in a social
> situation and so is likely to be shaped by others' constructions.
> Kellian PCP says that some constructs are more central to our
> understanding (construction) of who we are ("core constructs") (see
> another recent thread on that). I'd say the Lacanian ideas of desire
> and joissance are very "core" as I read them (hardly at all in
> Lacan's original words I confess!). Kellian PCP also explicitly
> states that some constructs may not be "verbal" and implicitly allows
> that some might be "unconscious" i.e. not readily available to our
> own attempts to construe them. Kelly also allowed that our construct
> systems will have internal incoherences, are hierarchical and patchy
> in scope and variable in rigidity depending on situation. All these
> things overlap with the (various) classical psychoanalytic ideas of
> "unconscious" and the "system Ucs". One thing that is much more
> radically there in Freud and in Lacan for me (and a reason why I'm
> not a full card-carrying Kellian) is the notion that the logic of the
> "system Ucs" might be much less interested in anticipation and
> construction and much more profoundly odd in its construing than we
> often like to acknowledge (something we might like to factor back
> into the "craziness" theme -- Freudian Ucs has "non-contradiction" at
> its core which is problematical for anticipation, contrast and
> replication, but often makes a huge amount of sense if you're
> conversing with someone labelled "acutely psychotic").
> Although Kelly was very grounded in very pragmatic (but also
> charismatic) psychotherapy, he saw his ideas as generic so I think
> you could say they're not rooted in psychotherapy. What is
> interesting to me (again, see recent thread) is that I think the PCP
> world has been a bit chary of gender difference and profound desire
> and profound "craziness" (anyone seen tapes of Lacan lecturing? that
> taxes classificatory systems for me!). I think we're currently
> grappling with these previous charinesses as the amount of overlap
> between your post and so many recent threads now makes clear to me.
> Funny how when I first read it I was fascinated but also bemused that
> someone might point you here!
> Vicki, what's central to PCP is that in some way these are no
> more and no more than my attempts to anticipate/construe these
> multiple, probably incoherent, fields. What will make them more
> than that is how they go on developing for me in the light of my
> further experience (including, vainly, rereading this to see if I
> can make it more sensible!) and how much they can fit into any
> construction of yours, including your construction of my
> construing! Hope this is of some help and perhaps
> amusing/anticipatory to others.
> Best wishes
> Chris (admin hat back on) Evans
> Chris Evans, Senior Lecturer in Psychotherapy,
> Locum Consultant to the
> Prudence Skynner Family Therapy Clinic,
> St. George's Hospital Medical School, London University