While most people have not heard of Jacques Lacan, he is a central figure in the world of psychotherapy. Born in Paris in 1901, Lacan was both a psychiatrist as well as a psychoanalyst, and he was greatly influenced by Freud.
In fact, he is credited with the "return to Freud" movement and also with the focus on linguistics and the choice of words, both intentional and accidental, as a factor of the structure of the unconscious as if it were a language. In other words, it is constantly changing and is not primitive or separate. In this way, one of the Lacanian theories is that after a traumatic event the individual cannot be "restored" to a specific point of mind before the event, as that point no longer exists because of the trauma.
The Role of Linguistics
The Lacanian view sees linguistics and language as a way that a person represents a desire. The language creates the connection between the desire and the need for connection. The language, in turn, is influenced by culture and by history with the subject always trying to create a specific representation of self.
In this way, Lacan saw language as a mask, used to attempt to hide or to cover up a desire. Through language there are also relationships, and like Freud, the focus was on infant sexuality and the role of the desires of the mother.
The Mirror Stage
The mirror stage was perhaps the central element to consider with the Lacanian view. This was also based on the work of another psychologist, Henri Wallon, who focus his studies no how reflections in mirrors elicited specific types of behaviours from both animals as well as humans.
There is a difference of course, with animals quickly becoming disinterested in their reflection while humans become more interested. With chimpanzees, there is a recognition of the reflection as their own by about 6 months of ages. While human children are interested in reflections by six months, it is not until about 15 years of age that children recognize themselves.
Lacan saw this as a way for children to develop a unique identity of self. From this literal sense of looking into a physical mirror, the concept has expanded to the child observing others and mimicking the gestures as if looking into a mirror as a way to develop behaviour.
In later studies, Lacan expanded this view to show the formation of the Ego in the child and the change in the mental development. He also saw the mirror stage as symbolic, where the child recognizing his or her own image is able to see him or herself as a unique individual and the parent as the Other. The parent's role is to reflect that of the child, creating both realities as well as the sense of the separateness of Self.
These types of theories or views are used as a basis for different aspects of psychoanalysis. They form a way or an approach to structuring interactions for the psychoanalyst, helping to create understanding for the client.
Our Central London Psychotherapy Approach
Just as a doctor considers more than the physical symptoms of a disease in developing treatment so do psychotherapists, counsellors, and other mental health professions that are truly informed. At our Central London offices all of our professionals use only this holistic approach to treatment because we believe it is the most effective and researched based option to use.
By using the holistic method we do not limit ourselves, our options, or our ability to create the best treatment plan possible for our clients. Instead, we are able to draw from all the schools of psychotherapy and holistic treatment to create an absolutely authentic and bespoke treatment plan for each of our clients. The plan can include methods and elements from psychotherapy, art therapy, hypnotherapy, counselling and a range of other possibilities.