Help us sharing our research, consultation and experiences

Donate Now

The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

AM23-QC-PP22: Lacanian Poetics of Interpretation and its Practical Application in Psychoanalytic Executive Coaching

Parallel Papers Session 5
Saturday 1 July 15.45pm-17.00 SAST - VENUE 2
This presentation is STREAMED: a live broadcast from the venue with no online interaction. Moderators may announce zoom 'chat' questions can be submitted. Please 'mute' your microphone in consideration of other online participants and the audio recording.

Lacanian Poetics of Interpretation and its Practical Application in Psychoanalytic Executive Coaching

Presenter: Irena Izotova


Lacanian Poetics of Interpretation and its Practical Application in Psychoanalytic Executive Coaching.

“I told you that it is only poetry that allows interpretation
and that is why, in my technique, I can hardly reach what it holds “–– Jacques Lacan

In this paper I propose that Jacques Lacan’s focus on poetics in the psychoanalytic dialogue could create the potential for constructive engagement of psychoanalytic coaches and their clients. Furthermore the poetic may have an enabling potential in the wider World.

The capacity for a reciprocally creative and constructive dialogue between individuals, in groups and in wider societies, particularly, between the political powers, seems to have been seriously deteriorating in recent times. We appear to have lost our ability to adequately process unprecedented changes experienced by losing “the habitual world” in a critical thinking way. Hence it becomes difficult to find workable solutions to go over radical differences. This view is illustrated by the dramatic effects of Covid isolation followed by the catastrophic developments of Russia-Ukraine war. As psychoanalytic coaches/consultants we also observe these tendencies in working with organizations and their leaders.

How can we support clients’ ability to go beyond defenses and provide the containing spaces to stimulate their desire to think together and re-build their authority to act efficiently?
Perhaps through poetry of interpretation (which is not at all only on the coach’s part) we may stimulate the desire to gain one’s own subjectivity and individual spirituality to invest their libido on the side of life and hope for the future.

Lacan makes a link between poetic writing and psychoanalytic interpretation which aims at avoiding the soporific tendencies of ‘mere understanding’ but rather at producing the ‘effect of truth’.
The paper explores the creative potential of metaphors, metonymies, slips of the tongue, homophones, equivoques, humor, the re-purposed signifiers to stimulate the binding of Imaginary, Symbolic and Real registers. All this is to enable the subject to create their new thinking as the interpretation “touches on a new mode, a new existence of the signifier”(Miller).

The main theme of the paper is about the shift from the “prosaic” empty speech of repetitive symptomatic sufferings to the “poetry” of interpretation as an effort “to rekindle the fire of poetic language”( Miller) to allow the subject’s unconscious to come to the surface to form a creative transferential partnership with the coach.

Theoretical material is illustrated with several case vignettes from the practice of psychoanalytic Executive coaching.

“Interpretation-namely, what the analyst must do, has to be poetic” (Lacan).

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  1. Apply key concepts of Lacanian analysis, namely interpretation, in the practice of Executive.
  2. Recognise and explore the poetic dimension of interpretation and its potential to stimulate new thinking
  3. Apply techiques to, and be invited to, re-think own coaching/ consulting practice with executives to stimulate new ways of leadership and decision making in the face of contingencies of today
  4. Identify what they might want to experiment with as ways of developing transference alliances with clients

Biographical Summary

Irena Izotova is an Executive &Team Coach, Organizational Consultant and Business Psychologist working in the systems psychodynamic approach.
She works with executives, boards, senior officers and top management teams in international and Russian companies, and consults for business owners and start ups. A lecturer and a supervisor on the Master’s Program “Psychoanalysis and Business Consulting”, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, and Past President of the Association of Psychoanalytic Coaching and Business Consulting. Irena is a psychoanalyst of Lacanian orientation with private practice. She is the President-Elect of ISPSO.