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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Lacanian Resources for Organizational Consulting

In this paper I want to describe some Lacanian perspectives that I think might be of use to organizational consultants. The first resource, towhich I will devote most of this paper, is Lacans articulation of three different registers of subjectivity, each of which helps to determine behavior by 1) maintaining or enhancing our sense of identity, 2) producing and expressing anxiety, 3) providing enjoyment, and 4) embodying, expressing, and enacting desire. The second resource, on which I will have time to offer only a few brief comments, is the notion that the clients discourse offers the most effective field both for identifying the central elements of the clients identity and the unconscious impulses that threaten that identity and for intervening in the conflicts between identity and unconscious impulses.According to Lacan, human subjectivity is grounded in three basic registers, which he names the Symbolic, the Imaginary, and the Real. Stated very succinctly, the Symbolic is the order of language; the Imaginary is the order of visual, spatial, and kinesic experience (related in various ways to Piagets sensori-motor stage) and hence of the body image and body ego; and the Real is that dimension both of ones own body and of the rest of the world that is neither captured nor controlled by the Symbolic or the Imaginary register.'