Psychoanalytic treatment for autism: Interviews with French analysts

Last week a French documentary called “Le Mur” attracted
attention in the New York Times. Plans to screen the film later this week in Philadelphia are being
contested by three of the interviewees. They are all psychoanalysts who treat
children with autism, and they complain that the film has been unfairly edited
to make them look ridiculous. They are suing the film-maker, Sophie Robert in
her native France.
All the signs, though, suggest that their legal action is causing a Streisand effect, drawing attention to them and generating considerably more criticism of
their activities than would otherwise have been the case. A website called
“Support the Wall” has links to the documentary, with English subtitles, and to
other sites highly critical of France’s
idiosyncratic approach to autism intervention.

At nearly an hour long, the film is quite demanding to sit
through, so I thought it might be helpful to post a transcript of the
interviews with psychoanalysts, so people can judge for themselves whether the
analysts have been ridiculed.

This text should, however, be read bearing the following
points in mind:

  • The translation
    was not done by a native English speaker, and I simply copied the text from the
    subtitles, rather than attempting to improve on the translation. It is
    important to realise that some apparently incoherent utterances could be due to
    poor translation.

  • The subtitling is
    very amateurish and uses multiple colours in a way that can make it difficult
    to read at times. Unintelligible material is denoted as (xxx)

  • The speakers are
    indicated in brackets, with (I) denoting the interviewer (presumably Sophie
    Robert). All other speakers are psychoanalysts.

  • My ability to keep
    track of all the analysts is imperfect, and so I may sometimes have misattributed
    a statement - please refer to the original movie if you want to be certain of
    who said what.

(Update, 26th Jan 2012: World Service Health Check podcast on this topic)

The Wall


For more
than thirty years, the international scientific community has acknowledged that
autism is a neurologic disorder that is the cause of a handicap in social
All autists have the
same anomaly in one area of the brain, the upper temporal line1 identified
in 2000 by Dr Monica Zilbovicius.
In France,
psychiatry, being very largely dominated by psychoanalysis, ignores these
discoveries. To psychoanalysis,
autism is a psychosis. In other words, a major psychic disorder resulting from
a bad maternal relationship.

1 Comment by DVB: I assume
this refers to the superior temporal sulcus. I regard the statement about
anomalies in all autists as an over-simplification


The Interviews

(Dr Alexandre Stevens) I think that autism is a mode of
reaction of the subject that is obviously very early in his logical history.

It is that (xxx) response to what comes as invasion of the
world and of the other.

He clams up.

He clams up, he gets into a bubble and refuses to enter the
mechanisms of speech.

But (xxx) some autists speak, don't they

So it is more than speech, in the subjective mechanisms

I mean, speaking, yes, but without being really involved.

(interviewer) Do you make a structural distinction between
psychosis and autism?

(AS) No, I don't.

(I) Are autists psychotic?

(AS) Yes. That is to say, autism is an extreme situation of
something that is in the scope of the set of psychoses.


(Professeur Pierre Delion) The structural distinction that
one can make between autism on the one hand and child psychosis on the other

that is (xxx) the aspect of the description of the
underlying structure does not stand up to analysis in the continuity of this
first structure and the second one.

It seems to me that there are paths between the autistic
structure, the psychotic structure, and the dysharmonic structure.

Now, when we say that, we upset many associations of parents
of autistic children who think that autists have nothing to do with psychotics

To me, this is a mistake; there are many things in common.


(Dr Genevieve Loison) It is the crocodile! (gets out toy

So the crocodile tells us right away what it is all about.

They play with it and when they put the hand or an object
in, I am worried.

(demonstrates with hand in mouth of croc)

When they get on top of it and hit it, I feel reassured.
They are fighting!

(I) Why? What does it mean, the crocodile?

(GL) The crocodile is the mother's belly, the mother's teeth

(I) Is that what Lacan used to call the mother: a crocodile?

(GL)Yes, so the goal of our work is to forbid her to eat.

(I) To eat the child?

(GL) We put a stick in him

When the child starts getting out this, sometimes he puts
his hand

(demo hand in croc mouth). Sometimes he puts a figurine in.

(I) And this pen, what does it stand for?

(GL) (Puts pen across croc jaws) So this means "You
can't any more" It is the bar.

(I) Is it the father's phallus?

(GL) That's it. You can't do that any more.

(I) It is the father's law, that bars the child from his
mother and that forbids the mother to destroy the child.

(GL) Right, and to devour him.

(I) Does this also relate to autistic children?

(GL) Of course, yes. For autists it is a matter of stage,
you see.

We take the children at some stage.

The autistic children, they often put the child in there
(has what looks like a tortoise in shape of a bag?)

They go in there. Then, we get worried, right?

(Interlude with family with autistic children)

(05:15)(I) Regarding both psychosis and autism, there is an
explanation that is traditionally used is that a maternal depression during
pregnancy or the first months of the baby’s life would have altered the
mother-child relationship, and could be responsible for severe disorders.

(Prof Daniel Widlocher) So, this is what serious colleagues
tell us, so consequently I listen to them.


(AS) It can be the case, when the child comes in such
conditions where the other, his first “other”, the mother is very depressed. I
mean she will be absent from him, will be in another look at him, that it could
sometimes make it so that the child chooses to withdraw.

Sometimes, when the mother is depressed, when she is
pregnant or at birth, sometimes the child can be autistic.


(GL)Woah, well, we have seen a few of them. I remember, it
was when I was in a psychiatric clinic that I have seen them, mostly.

I have seen massive things, massive voids, disorders.

I have seen abandoned mothers! For each autist there was, I
would say, a different cause.

I have seen many mothers abandoned at the end of their

And the child… depressive mothers too, mothers in the baby
blues afterwards, abandoned at the end of pregnancy, who have a baby blues
after delivery, who are themselves in the emptiness and who put the child in
the relational emptiness.


(DW) For example, deep deficiency

For instance, a mother who, for reasons of depression does
not take any care of her child, stays mute in front of him, clotted, while the
child is there, starting to hang on to her, looking for contact.

It can, if it lasts long during childhood have consequences
on the young adult who will keep being very cold, inhibited from an affective
perspective, because, when he was a child, he unfortunately had a very cold


(I) Is there a higher incidence of the cases of psychosis or
autism in countries where there is a war?

In the favelas of Rio? In
all circumstances where mothers have good reasons to be depressed?

(GL) I am not aware of that, I cannot answer.

I can only answer about what happens in my practice, you

(07:55) (interlude)

(08:41)(I) How can one explain that a maternal depression
could cause a child to be autistic?

To start with in utero?

(09.04)(AS) So, first of all, in utero some things already

I am not a specialist of in utero, but there are things

The child moves, mothers speak

Mothers talk to him and react to a number of stimuli

In fact, what do children know about this link to the other,
in utero?

It does not completely go through language.

But it goes through the whole environment of corporal sounds

Finally, a depressed mother, when the child is there in
utero, does the child feel anything?

I am totally unable to tell you, but I do not feel like it
is odd to think so.


(Dr Aldo Naouri) Most of the time, the symptom of the child
is no more no less than the symptom that allotted to have by the maternal
unconscious mainly

Because children are in a relationship that is very very
permeable in the communication with their mother

Gestation literally conditions a child and forms him.

And really gives him something entirely produced by the
body, that comes from his mother's body.

This weakens the field.

It puts the child in a state where his resistance is altered
by the conditions that come from his environment


(10:22)(Prof Bernard Golse) For the baby, there is one half
of his genes, of his chromosomes are from his mother the other half from his

So, there is one part that is like the mother, this one does
not pose any problem

but there is one part that is like the father and that
immediately poses a problem

As soon as the baby is conceived, the motherly organism will
immediately secrete a very strong wave of antibodies to expel the baby that is
half stranger to the mother's body

It is a little sad to say, if I can say, the first thing
that biologically, the mother cannot stand in her baby is the part that comes
from the father

So what is anthropological in there is the double

No, I do not recognise this baby; I want to eject him, and
at once a no to the no.

Which we will find later in the language

There is a whole interesting question

and in language one will find such double negations.

This comes at the biology level.

(further interlude with family)

(I) Why don't severe autistics speak?

(Prof Daniel Widlocher) I don't know

My first idea is that they do not speak because they are not
stimulated for speech.

Like children that are very little surrounded by a stream of
language often have language difficulties even though they do not have autism

Consequently there is language stimulation, a parental
stimulation of the environment that is very important


(AS) We are not neurologically wired for language

Psychoanalysis does not belong here, if you want

We are not wired for language.

Of course it takes the capacity to speak but the essential
thing is that precisely language is outside of the organism


(GL) Why would they communicate, they are in fusion!

They communicate without words, there is no need to acquire

Speech implies access to the symbolic, access to the father.

I am not only with my mother

There exists a father who created me in the origin, who was
the founder, with his paternal might, who has created a child.

Only progressively with the child discover this.

(I) In what does the father embody the symbolic?

(GL) Ha, this is difficult

He is access to abstraction, access to the distance

Access one has to speak when one is no longer glued

He comes to interpose between the mother and the child


(Prof Bernard Golse) Speaking with the other means that one
is no longer merged with the other.

As long as one is no longer separate, as long as one is
combined in the other

which is the problem for autistic children, precisely for
whom the other does not exist

but when the other starts emerging they are still in such a
pathologic distance that they can't speak with the other


(I) About autistic children it is said that their mother
cannot catch their eye?

(GL)Yes, they are not at all in the relationship

they are staying in an egg

(I) They flee the mother because they are merged with the

(GL) They have not taken off at all.

They have stayed in the egg, in the uterus

Why do you want them to look or speak?


(14:22)(BG) You can not think of the other one, you can not
speak with the other one unless you have some free range.

As long as you are still included, interpenetrated, merged
with the other one, you can neither think to the other one, nor speak with him

this is almost a truism

If language touches us so much all our life long, and
psychoanalysis goes through language it is that language is only about

That is a vision.... very very well.... it is a vision of
development that ir extremely specific to the psychoanalytic vision of things

(interlude with family)

(I) The Psyche does not evolve independently of the brain.
It does not wander alone in the void.

If we have one side a normal child with a well-functioning
brain and on the other side an autistic child with a malfunctioning brain,
doesn't it make a fundamental difference in its capacity to communicate with
the outer world?

(Esthela Solano) This way of conceiving the causality of
autism is very reductive.

What we can notice when we take care of autistic children is
precisely that autistic children are sick of language

That autism is a way to defend themselves from language


 (interlude with

(voiceover) The Austrian-American psychoanalyst Bruno
Bettelheim was the precursor of the psychoanalytic treatment of autism.

Bettelheim compared autistic children with concentration
camp prisoners that were swinging back and forth, staggered by terror, waiting
for an imminent death.

Reasoning by analogy, he was convinced that autistic
children were the victims of torturer parents, freezing mothers who had desired
the death of their child.

Bettelheim's work has been largely rejected in the USA since more
than thirty years.

But how is it in France?


(PD) Bruno Bettelheim is a victim of injustice of
contemporary history.

I think that he did his work at a time when no one cared for
autistic children, an absolutely exemplary pioneering work.

He got interested in autistic children because he was coming
out of an artificial deficiency experience that he had gone through in
concentration camps.

He arrived on the autistic planet thinking that finally here
are children that maybe suffered from deficiencies in a manner similar to what
I have lived myself.

I will try to treat them from this hypothesis, meaning by
separating them from their parents.


(GL) There was absolutely no tie.

Mothers who have them so fear them, even during pregnancy

And after, there is absolutely no tie.

And the child is abandoned and can even wonder how he has
been conceived.

But the fact is that they were conceived.

He is totally empty, pregnancy is only organic, the child
does not exist as a person.

He is totally in the relational emptiness.

And this gives what Bruno Bettelheim, yes, of course


(Yann Bogopolsky) No no, Bruno Bettelheim has said much more
than that.

This is the caricature.

I do not say this for you but for those who well

It is not only about mothers, it is also about the father's
place in the mother's desire.

And it is about a certain amount of data, not only those
with which the child is born, and the link that has been created, or the
desires of death that such mother could have had for this new born child.

But all the mothers who have desires of death for their
child, all these desires will not necessarily make their child psychotic!


(voiceover) At the end of the 60s, psychoanalysis is
starting to decline everywhere in the world.

But it takes a phenomenal success in France, with
the impulsion of an ambitious and charismatic psychiatrist.

For Jacques Lacan, psychotic and autistic children are
victims of the alienation by a psychogenic mother.

A woman who refuses to stop her pregnancy because she is
unable to split from a child who is a substitute for a penis that she has not
received when she was born.


(YB) At the beginning, the child thinks that he is his
mother's phallus.

Namely that he is this object that would give everything,
fill his mother with joy, make her have orgasm.


(I) Therefore autism is maternal fusion?

(GL) Wait, there are a lot of theories, right?

To me, I have either fusion or total abandon and emptiness.

It's one or the other. The two poles. It's not the same.

But when they are totally in emptiness

but what I deal with here at the practice, is rather fusion

For total abandons, I do not see them, they go to

(I) Bruno Bettelheim says that autistic children are victims
of mothers that are too cold, and on the other side we have Jacques Lacan who
theorizes psychosis and autism as maternal fusion, through some sort of a
relationship that is almost incestuous between the mother and the child?

(GL)Yes, yes, absolutely

(I) So on the other side, we have a mother who is too warm?

(GL) Yes, too warm or too cold is not good.

It takes a mother, as Winnicott says, good enough.

Neither too good too warm, neither totally empty of course.

If there is nothing, no relationship, it will not give
anything good.

(I) How can you explain that two attitudes, two totally
opposed behaviours, could yield the same result?

(GL) There are different mechanisms; it is our job to put
things back in the middle.


(voiceover) The English analyst paediatrician Donald
Winnicott is the author of the concept of "good enough mother",
according to which a mother who wants to do too well is toxic for her child.

He claims that motherhood would take mothers and infants
through a transitional madness stage, prototype of forthcoming psychic


(GL) (approaching with scary toy spider) Unconsciously, this
is what you are doing to me, in your legs.


(voiceover) With Winnicott, we have come full circle

Motherhood is psychogenic by nature.


(I) Do you agree with the idea of maternal madness?

That every woman, every mother goes through the first months
after delivery a stage of madness that can later be problematic for the infant
if it lasts?

(AS) Yes, yes ,but this name maternal madness does not
disturb me at all.

(I) You are a psychiatrist, madness is definitely something
with a negative meaning isn't it?

(AS) Not for me


(Laurent Danon-Boileau) There is this idea that is usually
called the maternal madness of the first times

There is a moment when the mother is so glad to have her
brat that she is the one with the brat and there is no way anyone could

(I) Why call this madness, by the way?

(LD) Because of this idea of some sort of wholeness that
gives some kind of powerful might.

There is this idea that, starting when you have done such a
thing, you are almighty, nothing can reach you, etc etc.


(GL) You know, madness, it's the first  month of life

But the thing is we have all been mad, or almost

(I) Why call this thing, this capacity for the mother to
decrypt and understand her child's behaviour without language, why call this

(GL) Because if we stopped there, the child would go into

Madness is precisely what you were asking about earlier
about autism; they stopped there


(LD) Maternal madness, is maternal madness a major roadblock
to the emergence of language?

Said like that, of course, yes!


(25:40)(AN) The mother is one the side of nature.

and from this standpoint, she is animal, if you want.

whereas the father was the one who founded culture

This is what made Claude Levi Strauss say this superb
definition when he speaks about the couple.

He says that it is the dramatic union of nature and culture.

You see, when law supports culture, claiming that there is
something fatherly, it means we are in the culture, return to nature shall not


(voiceover) In the course of my interviews, several psychoanalysts had
asserted that autism was the consequence of a maternal incest


(AS) The maternal function consists of intervening in two

On the one hand saying no to the fusion between mother and
the child

The father is the one forbids the mother

(I) He forbids sexually? Right?

(AS) Who forbids the pleasure of the mother

Namely, without ambiguity, who forbids that the child takes
pleasure exclusively with his mother

as well as the mother takes pleasure exclusively with the


(Jacqueline Schaeffer) At the child's birth there is a
honeymoon, right?

Sometimes, it is not so much of a honeymoon, it can be

But there is a honeymoon, there is a fusion, there is an

Well, at the same time, there is a huge pleasure together

The baby very quickly, well, there is what we can say

There is not sex difference but there is a big erotic
pleasure taken together


(I) The fact that a mother takes care of her child like a
human being, this is not sexual

(YB) Well, yes it is!

Sexuality, in a first place, is not in the sense that all
take it, as genital sexuality

It is everything that, to Freud, because he is the one who
theorized this, will be the body's parts that will give pleasure to the child

So the child and mother bodies are there in a tight unison
and even the infant child does not know that he is not his mother's body.

He thinks they are one.

Well, he thinks - we attribute t his to him - he thinks he
is one with his mother.

(29:36)So, it is a work of separating the bodies.

And the pleasure that the child will get in his relationship
with the other, who is first his mother, will happen, one, in a clinch

And two, the pleasure will be related to the different
orifices of the body.


(LD) There are psychoanalysts who, a long time ago, have
talked about something they called the lover's censorship.

This means something very simple.

It means that the mother is changing the infant and that all
of a sudden; she takes too much pleasure by touching the infant

And she feels, oh la, this is strange

It is not logical; I am not treating him like

(I) An incestuous thing?

(LD) Something a little incestuous, what's going on?

Well, she will think of the man with whom she conceived him,
in other words her lover.

And therefore, this will create a distance between herself
and the infant.

This is what we call the lover censorship.

(I) She has to have a man on her mind for her not to be in
an incestuous relationship with her child?

(LD) It's not "she has to" - one cannot avoid it!


(JS) During maternal care, the mother can very well arouse
the penis of a little boy.

I mean, maternal care, and the little boys do not avoid

We see many little boys who, when they get changed, when
they get washed by the mother, the little penis reacts


(YB) The father is there to forbid and at the same time
protect the child.

That is, to protect the child from the incestuous desire of
the mother.

(I) Do you think that all mothers have incestuous desires
towards their child?

(YB) Oh yes, whether they are aware of it or not! Yes!

(I) Why are you so sure?

(YB) Well, first from psychoanalytic writings.

I mean, desire is not forbidden, its fulfilment is.

(I) But, that the love of a mother for her child is an
incestuous desire, this is-

(YB) Well yes, because she already has some trouble to
separate from her child.

There is a unity that gets done only if the father of the
child, or the one in charge of this who is not necessarily the genitor, does
not come and tell the mother that enjoyment has to happen between them.

Does not remind his desire to the mother, and the pleasure
that she will be able to have through the desire that ties them together.

The mother will have pleasure by caressing her child

By having him on her body all day, what else, she will have

And, back to your previous question, this is how the body
will present and that sexuality, insofar as it is related to body pleasure, and
that is reused in language, is naturally present in the questions of

(I) Then, why are most of the incests perpetrated by men?


(AN) First we have to notice that father-daughter incest is
definitely more frequent than mother-son incest

And why are there not, or no more, mother-son incests?

For a very simple reason, which is that the motherly
attitude to children, whether they are boys or girls, is spontaneously an
attitude of incestuous essence.

Every mother's dream is that her child does not lack

The motherly tendency towards the child is an incestuous

And there is no need to act. In her attitude, there is
already enough, she does not act.


(JS) Paternal incest does not cause so much damage. It makes
the girls a little moronic.

But maternal incest creates psychosis. That is, madness.

There cannot be a maternal incest between a boy and his
mother without an enormous mental disorder. It is not possible.

Precisely because of this barrier.

But the daughter with the father, she did not come out of
the father, right she has not been in the father's belly

So there is something, you see. I'd say it is a secondary

Whereas the primary incest, the real one, it is the mother

It is to penetrate the mother.

And boys who penetrate their mother are psychotic.

Whereas the daughter is not.

The girls can, we have many experiences with daughters with
a paternal incest, they can manage somehow.

Now, I can't say that it works very very well

Some of them are very very bad, some a little less so

And there are those who manage by some other way

What I was saying, a little moronic.  But it is very different.


(voiceover) To psychoanalysts, the father is guilty too.

Guilty of being absent or transparent, guilty of being
submissive to his wife.

Guilty of having been unable to intervene between the child
and the maternal ogre.


(GL) He failed.

Often, do you know how many times we see fathers who would
have liked to?

and this is what we call forclusion

Forclusion of the father’s name

(I) What does it mean?

(GL) Good question!

It means that the father, in simple terms has made the child
but that he (the father) does not exist.

It is denied, his existence is denied.

(I) Does the mother deny his existence?

(GL) Denies his function, his existence. There is only her
and the child who count

The father does not exist.

Maybe he is there to bring some money in, he is here like an

He does not have the function of the husband, loved,
considered in his speech

When the mother considers the father’s speech, the child
discovers speech.

(I) If the child does not speak, it is because the mother
discredits the father’s word?

(GL) Well, there are not so many here; it is mostly in
institutions; in psychiatric clinics, where I had severe autists.


(ES) Fundamentally, the father’s function is symbolic.

And sometimes the real father does not carry this symbolic

He can be adorable and nice, but nevertheless the child
faces a symbolic deficiency on the side of the paternal function.


(36:26)(GL) Either he does not have room or he only exists
through violence, or he is violent himself.

We sometimes realise that he is violent to exist.

And that he pries doors open in a way, when no one opens
them for him!


(ES) When on speaks about the paternal function it is about
something that drives you in your life.

It is like a highway, a compass.

(I) Why wouldn’t the mother, as a woman, provide the child
this basis? Even on her own?

(ES) There are some mothers who can transmit a paternal

(I) But why isn’t it a maternal function? Why isn’t it a
maternal symbolic? Why give it a gender?

(ES) The law of the mother is the law of whim.


(AN) In 1984, a biologist established this extraordinary
proof that placenta is from exclusive paternal origin.

So that it is under the control of genes brought by the

In other words, the placenta is what prevents the mother
from destroying her child, and a child from killing his mother.

(I) What enables the mother to feed her child?

(AN) Yes, that allows, that transfers and filters all the
food the mother brings him.

In other words, it is a regulating element between them,
this placenta it is an interposition.

I mean it feels like the father’s attitude within the
decisions he takes, this patriarchy that he sets up, this male domination,
etc., has always been the empirical search of the function that the placenta

And that lets every child come into the world without being


(voiceover) Since Bruno Bettelheim, the major psychoanalytic
principle for the treatment of autistic children consists in separate children
from their parents.

Parents are sometimes subject to pressure to undergo therapy
because they are considered the source of the problem.

Today still in France
and Belgium
a number of psychiatric institutions are places that are not accessible to
families, who are not informed of what goes on.

What does the psychoanalytic treatment of autistic children
consist in?


(ES) Let’s say that when we receive an autistic child we
practice a psychoanalysis that is pure invention.

We are facing a subject who, most of the time, cannot speak.


(LD) I am rather like in an observation attitude.

I mean, with an autistic child, I do very little.

What does very little mean?

That I sit my butt down close to him, and I wait for
something to happen.

And I forget, I try to forget everything.

I forget time, I forget that we are pressed by time for him
to acquire language, I forget everything.

Because I tell myself that, since I am in this kind of
weightlessness, there could well happen something that I can not foresee.


(41:20)(AS) You have authors like Tustin or Magaret Mahler who explain how it
is first about winning over the child.

Here we are in a practice, but it is the same in an

Winning over the child. I do not remember which of them
describes this.

It is about stepping a little back, not in his line of

Not speaking too loud, rather following what he says than
anticipating it.


(ES) No willingness of control, no educative willingness

No compelling of anything.


(BG) We finally try by all means to make the autistic child
feel that another one exists who is not threatening.


(ES) It is precisely about taking into account the most
insignificant details and figure out that this insignificant detail can be
interpreted with some meaning.

And bit by bit we can proceed by supposing that there is a
sign and we take it as something like the intent of a speech.


(LD) Personally, if the kid does not do anything during the
session, if I drowse beside him, I don’t care.

I am used to that in my work as a psychoanalyst.

But this implies a few things.

One, it implies not getting bored when we think with our own

Two, it implies rowing against this whole social thing that
pushes you to be pressed by time it is all very nice, but if nevertheless if
the child is still like that in ten years, it’s not on you to … etc.

All this is true; I stay in the position of a psychoanalyst,
which means having no memory, no expectation.

And starting from then, something happens.

And that is an attitude, I believe, that is a deeply
psychoanalytic attitude.


(BG) When… Perhaps… Well..

I am sensitive to what you tell me that the audience should
feel that we accept to fully endorse our convictions.


(LD) If you sing a little song, and that the autistic child
doesn’t feel bad with it there is something happening.

So you’re going to tell me, there is no need of a
psychoanalyst for that.

Yes, if you are not using it as an educative method.

Yes, if you that that after all I don’t care about what the
child will do with it.

It seems like he seems interested

We do that and we’ll see what happens then. Or we won’t see

The fundamental point in my attitude as a psychoanalyst with
respect to these children it is to abdicate the idea of a progress.

And this is not easy, you can believe me.

My analytic ideal demands to abandon this dimension, but it
turns out that I belong to a society in which I am paid to give care.

Consequently, I am in a conflict.

But this, a situation of conflict an analyst must be able to
endure it or he takes another job!

Because this is the basis of our analytic practice.


(I) What is the impact of psychoanalysis on autistic

What can an autistic child reasonably expect in terms of

(PD) But I can’t answer this, this is not a matter for a


(I) What can an autistic child reasonably expect from an
analytic work?

In terms of results?

(45:20)(LD) (very long pause) the pleasure of taking
interest in a soap bubble.

I can’t answer anything else.


(voiceover) Nevertheless, there are solutions.

they are called PECS, TEACCH,
and ABA.

These educative and behavioral methods have been set up in
the USA over thirty years ago to enable people with autism to communicate, open
up to the world.

Thanks to these tools that are appropriate to their
handicap, young autistic children make, in a few months, significant progress.

Unfortunately, psychoanalysts fiercely stand in the way of
their establishment in France.


(AS) In the French speaking world the invasion of cognitive
behavior techniques is a new invasion.

Recent, but very present today.

Psychoanalysis fights against this invasion

A number of colleagues, in particular Jacques Alain Miller
have taken the lead of this struggle, this fight.

Others too in others organisations.

It is a very important fight to keep alive the dimension of
subjectivity or the singularities of each subject with respect to the
behavioral idea of managing by squares.


(Eric Laurent) You know, it is for psychoanalysis to be this
device of disenchantment.

there are hopes that come from biology, it could be
marvellous to believe in them!

If one can believe that tomorrow, tomorrow we will have the

Well, psychoanalysis, as a speech that illuminates all
beliefs tries to enable humanity to live without believing too big whims, it’s
part of our effort.

So, the dialogue with neurosciences, is not only to inform
ourselves of the results and let know that it does not alter our fundamental
practice, the orientation of our practice, it is also about trying to make
humanity live without having too big hopes in the various good news that are
published every day that are intended to keep a rate of good news in an
environment that has so little.


(voiceover) In the 80’s, 100% of the French psychiatrists
and psychologists were trained in psychoanalysis.

Since the 90s this trend is declining, but they are still
near 80% today.

This situation, unique in the world, except Argentina, has
tremendous consequences in the care of the handicapped.

(updated 24th January 2012)