What does it treat?

Psychoanalysis deals with a diverse spread of conditions and symptoms, including anxiety, depression, phobias, obsessive and eating disorders, sexual dysfunction and psychosomatic conditions. It is also effective in working through difficulties with family; separation; conflict at work; the effects of retirement; anxiety concerning first-time parenthood; effects of traumatic events; bereavement and existential crises. Psychoanalysis, in particular the clinic evolved by Jacques Lacan, works with serious mental illness, that is conditions such as bi-polar disorder, paranoia, schizophrenia, and other forms of psychosis, known to some as personality disorder.

But most significantly, what psychoanalysis treats is the dilemma of desire: what do I want and why is it that what I want is not the same as what I desire? These are the complexities of being a desiring subject. Psychoanalysis does not see symptoms, such as depression, as definitive of the being that we are. Rather depression is the flaw in love. “To be creatures who love, we must be creatures who can despair at what we lose, and depression is the mechanism of that despair.” The words are from ‘The Noonday Demon’, by Andrew Solomon who is a sufferer of depression, and talks about pain as something to be understood, not avoided. You can learn from suffering.