Psychoanalysis after Freud: Jacques Lacan

A two-day online course with Dr. Keith Barrett

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22 February, 1:30 pm - 23 February, 5:00 pm


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All registrants will receive their link to join via ZOOM. Course material will be sent 1 day before the event. Time includes a tea break. All attendees will also receive access to the recording, available to watch back for 1 month.


Jacques Lacan trained as a forensic psychiatrist in Paris and his early writings focus on Paranoid Psychosis. After qualifying as a psychoanalyst, he made his debut at the International Congress of Psychoanalysis of 1936 with a brilliant paper on the ‘Mirror Stage’. This paper proposed a completely new understanding of the constitution of the ‘I’, and was a devastating attack on ‘Ego Psychology’ – the version of psychoanalysis (based on Freud’s later work) then dominant in the USA. According to Ego Psychology, the aim of psychoanalytic therapy is to strengthen the ego – seen as the rational part of the personality that is in touch with reality. But Lacan’s paper argued powerfully that the ‘ego’ is nothing but a tissue of illusion, and that psychoanalysis should return to the work of the early Freud – centred on the notion of the unconscious (rather than on the ego) – to rediscover its true purpose and direction. Accordingly, in his work following the ‘Mirror Stage’ paper, Lacan went on to re-think the foundations of psychoanalysis, excising the last remnants of biology (still present in Freud), and presenting the whole of human psychology (and psychopathology) as a product of the fact that human beings are ‘speaking beings’. We will explore Lacan’s linguistic re-interpretation of Freud, and his understanding of neurosis, psychosis, human sexuality, and the process of psychoanalytic therapy.




Thursday 22 February 1.30 pm – 5.00 pm

Session 1: We will examine Lacan’s early work on paranoia – exploring the thinking that went into his famous case history, of ‘Aimee’. We will also explore his involvement with the Surrealists, and trace their influence on the development of his psychology.

Session 2: We will then review his theory of the ‘Mirror Stage’, which underpins the central Lacanian notion of the ‘lmaginary Order’, and see how Lacan traces the roots of aggression to its emotional vicissitudes.


Friday 23 February 1.30 pm – 5.00 pm 

Session 3: We will examine Lacan’s ‘return to Freud’, focussing on his brilliant re-interpretation of Freud’s key ideas in terms of language. Lacan sees the Oedipal phase as centring on the child’s first full entry into the world of language and culture – the ‘Symbolic Order’. We will examine this key notion in Lacan’s theory, tracing it back to the anthropology of Claude Levi-Straus. This will enable us to explain his view of the unconscious, of neurosis and of psychosis.

Session 4: We then will explore Lacan’s theory of the ‘Phallus’, as the fundamental signifier underpinning the Symbolic Order, and as the source of sexual difference. This will lead into an examination of Lacan’s view of sexuality, and the relations between the sexes in culture. We will end by considering his distinctive conception of psychoanalytic therapy.


Keith Barrett BA PhD received his first degree in philosophy from Oxford University after having spent three years working as a nursing assistant in psychiatric hospitals. It was in this practical context that Keith first encountered existentialism and psychoanalysis. He then began postgraduate studies on both Freud and Heidegger, leading finally to a PhD from the Wellcome Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL for a dissertation on ‘Freud’s Self-Analysis’. Keith has been a philosophy teacher for over 20 years, and has been delivering courses at the Freud Museum for over a decade, where he has developed a series of introductory lectures on Freud, psychoanalysis after Freud, and the overlap of philosophy and psychoanalysis.

Tickets £ 45

Members receive 20% off with their promocode.
A limited number of bursary places will be available for those unable to pay the full amount. Please email [email protected] to apply for a bursary.


22 February, 1:30 pm
23 February, 5:00 pm
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Freud Museum London
20 Maresfield Gardens
London, NW3 5SX United Kingdom
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020 7435 2002

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