I am trying to isolate and explain, from a psychoanalytic point of view, the opposition that has circulated throughout the preparations for this congress. If “crisis” is not an analytic concept, psychoanalysis is nonetheless—to cite a formula by now extensively returned to and worked through by Jacques-Alain Miller—a “friend to crisis.”1 How are we to understand this?
“Crisis” is a signifier that reverberates throughout contemporary discourse. We are very much preoccupied with it. In fact, it has been with psychoanalysis since its birth, in a form that is specific to it: the syntagm “traumatic effect” (traumatisme) on which the whole Freudian framework rests. Trauma is one of the declensions of the word crisis in the analytic field. The invention of psychoanalysis takes off from the study and therapy of non-medical symptoms of hysterical subjects, from the side of this moment of crisis. Freud discovers, by letting his patients speak, that at the origin of their symptoms, there is a trauma contributing to their formation. What, then, is a trauma? If not a major moment of crisis, a moment of rupture that leaves the subject grappling with an invasion she cannot account for with her subjective references and for which the response and the effect is precisely the symptom?