I am generally known as a “good therapist” in my clinic. (“Oh, he’s good, lucky you” etc.) Why am I such a good therapist? Why am I so clever? (As Nietzsche would ask of himself.)
“Zizek In The Clinic” the book, but more importantly, Zizek in the clinic the process, is about circling the object of mental health, and specifically the role of the psychotherapist. Let me give you an example session that demonstrates psychoeducation in the form of the University Discourse which was extremely successful psychotherapeutically.
A client, which for ethical reasons I will keep specifics vague, is afflicted by a condition which is characterized by the return of the Real. This is a structure known as psychosis in Lacanian theory, but in this case, the diagnosis was not a psychosis issue, but something in which the Real would return on a constant basis throughout the day, to the point of suicidal ideation on the part of the client. You could say however, it was structurally psychotic, and the structural effects on social relations were similar to someone who may have been afflicted with psychosis. A Zizekian structuralist would notice the psychosis in the structure, but Lacan himself would nearly certainly miss this.
The Tools Utilized
1. Psychoeducation regarding the Return of the Real (and The Real’s return as affecting the symbolic order.)
The terror for the client was that the Real would return in every situation with other people. The therapist highlights this as a core symptom: in every situation, one does not relax, but attempts to repress the Real.
2. Che Vuoi? What Does the Other want from me?
The question of the Other’s desire, due to the visible nature of this return of the Real. The terror of the Other leads the client to unknowingly arrange their lives so they would account for their symptom through which the Real acts. The Real returns and eliminates the time in Actuality [I will expand on the necessity of Set-Time, ie, time in Actuality, in the next book on Egoist ethical theory I’m currently working on, but its use in psychotherapy is apparent here] the client had devoted for any particular situation and the client must enter into the discourse regarding the symptom instead.
3. A question with no answer asked by the therapist: “How can this be overcome?”
Here I side with Badiou over Zizek in terms of the job of the philosopher or therapist, in terms of an optimism. Zizek would stop in terms of the antagonism and not try to tie it all neatly in a lesson at the end, most likely. Here if the client wants to be a Zizekian, I do not interfere, but I repeat the question and through the repetition, rehighlight the objects of distress, and bring them into consciousness.
What would this client have done been given a regular therapist? Exposure therapy possibly, affirmation possibly, cognitive challenges (is the other really thinking that)?
I claim none of these circle the object of the symptom as well as this Zizekian approach, and the results of the client aren’t of someone who has been filled with blank affirmations leaving therapy feeling in a better mood with the feeling of a bubble soon to be popped by the next return of the Real, but someone who is deeply, and utterly forced to know the object which ails them in some respect, and its tendencies.
Zizek in the clinic is an ideal. An ideal of a therapist who knows what the hell they are talking about due to understanding the structure of the psyche and its structural effects and social consequences. It is an ideal worth repeating, and fighting for, because clients have no checks and balances, only one (1) psych cop to help them.
God help them, I hope they get a good one.