Scientific Meeting, April 13, 2014

by Eric Glassgold, MD



Patrick Miller, a Parisian psychoanalyst, will visit our psychoanalytic center over the weekend of April 11th and give the Windholz Memorial Lecture on Sunday evening, April 13th at 6:00PM. Dr. Miller is a founding member and past president of La Société Psychanalytique de Recherche et de Formation (The Society for Psychoanalytic Research and Training), France’s newest IPA affiliated psychoanalytic society.

Dr. Miller has published numerous papers in distinguished French journals, including La Revue Francaise de Psychanalyse, Confrontations and Topique. In 1998, he received the Prix Maurice Bouvet, which is given each year to the author deemed to have made the most important contribution to French psychoanalytic literature. He has also contributed papers to English language collections. The most recent, On Freud's "On Beginning the Treatment": How Emmy Silenced Freud into Analytic Listening, appears in the IPA Contemporary Freud—Turning Points and Critical Issues series. In 2001, he published his first book, Le Psychanalyste Pendant la Séance [“The Analyst in Session”]. His first book in English, Driving Soma: A Transformational Process in the Analytic Encounter, (Karnac books) will appear later in 2014. (See below for a synopsis of this book’s major themes)

During his formation and training as a psychoanalyst, Dr. Miller was supervised by and attended the continuous seminars of Andre Green and Piera Aulagnier. Aulagnier, one of France’s most celebrated analysts, is known for her contributions to understanding and working with psychotic patients and for her dialogues with Meltzer and Esther Bick on autistic functioning patients. (The reader should note that in France, psychoanalytic trainees attend two seminars for the length of the academic year and often opt to continue to follow the same seminar in each successive year of their training.) In the 1970’s, during his student days (before pursuing medicine and formal analytic training), Dr. Miller attended the seminars of Jacques Lacan.

Of his psychoanalytic interests and orientation, Dr. Miller writes: "The question of the bodily ego and drive transformational processes is certainly center stage in my thinking. My interest in those issues has brought me to question theoretical issues around the topic of somatizations. My profound interest for Freud is enduring, and I am still highly stimulated and surprised when I read him. Metapsychological thinking remains for me the backbone of analytic theory. However, I've been very impressed by M. Klein's capacity to confront destructivity, admiring of Ferenczi's painful audacity and profound thinking about the body, deeply transformed in my way of thinking about counter-transference and object relations by Winnicott who [has] had a[profound] influence on my evolution, [and] shaken and stimulated by Bion's way of taking up Freud's drive theory, bringing it through Klein and furthering it into a transformational theory of the body-mind. [Yet] I can- not claim to be a Kleinian, Bionian, Winnicottian, etc. and shun all kinds of idealizations (and religions). I never trust any kind of institutional establishment, while thinking at the same time that analysis cannot be a solitary practice.”

Dr. Miller is a great admirer of American psychoanalysis and has become familiar with it through a decade and a half long relationship with a clinical consulting group composed of fifteen American analysts. They have met twice yearly under the auspices of the Center for Advanced Psychoanalytic Studies (CAPS) in Princeton. He also has frequently presented his work and has served several times as a discussant at the two day workshops on clinical process and technique at both winter and summer APsA meetings.



A Brief Synopsis of Dr. Miller’s book Driving Soma: A Transformation Process in the Analytic Encounter (KarnacBooks, 2014)*

Plunged into the experience of an analytic session, analyzed and analyst can come closer to what Freud terms the "primary processes." A clear-cut distinction between body and mind tends to become blurred while the bodily-egos of both protagonists are more effectively present to each other. How deeply can they affect each other, and can the transformational working through of the drives give access to potential transformations not only within the dimension of the erogenous body but also of the soma?

This book explores these complex issues from a number of different perspectives: the clinical approach of patients with somatic diseases; the metapsychology of the analyst at work, including different aspects and functions of formal regression; the function of figurability of certain bodily enactments; the specific use the analyst can make of his own subjectivity (relationship between subjectivity and neutrality) and how this leads to a specific way of thinking about inter subjectivity in psychoanalysis; and the way in which some works of art can enrich how we confront the body-mind-soma issue in our analytic experiences with our patients.

An attempt to erase the body from our field of investigation, not only the erogeneous body of infantile sexuality but also the body of soma, is active in every psychoanalytic culture. The author, who was trained in France, draws on Lacan and examines the way in which he progressively tried to disembody the theory and practice of psychoanalysis. He also argues that psychoanalysts could have a mutually enriching dialogue with neuro-biologists, not denying their differences of approach, but rather stemming out of them

*Source: Karnac Books website



Dr. Miller will serve as a consultant at the Post-graduate meeting on Friday April 11th, 6:00pm-8:00pm, present a paper and discuss a case at the Dialogues program on Saturday morning, April 12th, 9:30am-12:30pm and discuss a case presentation at the Candidates’ Colloquium on Sunday, April 13th, 10:00am-12noon.

For more information about Dr. Miller’s visit, contact Michael Windholz, Ph.D. Also see two of Dr. Miller’s papers posted on our psychoanalytic center’s website by Dr. Windholz, as well as a biography about Dr. Miller written by Dr. Eric Glassgold.

Go to top