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Laplanche’s “Faithful Infidelity”: An Introduction to Laplanche’s Critique of Psychoanalysis is a Course

Laplanche’s “Faithful Infidelity”: An Introduction to Laplanche’s Critique of Psychoanalysis

Started May 7, 2021

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Full course description

Friday, May 7th, 2021 | 2-5pm (EST)-- Fully Online Workshop

Eligible for 3 CE for LMHCs, and Psychologists


Laplanche coins the phrase “faithful infidelity” to describe his distinctive style of relating to the core formulations of psychoanalysis. By refusing to proclaim himself either a faithful adherent or a heretic, Laplanche establishes ‘sexuality’ as the essence of Freud’s radical discovery, then meticulously reads Freud’s entire oeuvre in order to identify the specific moments when Freud either moves toward or away from this essential discovery. Dubbing these competing tendencies “Copernican” (toward sexuality) and “Ptolemaic” (away from sexuality) Laplanche uses a metaphor of “centering” and “decentering” to track the movement of Freud’s thought. Determined to sustain the radicalism of sexuality’s “decentering” as against Freudian theory’s constant “self-centering and self-begetting,” Laplanche insists that the radical innovation of psychoanalysis – the true equivalent to the Copernican breakthrough – is the discovery that we revolve around other people and not the other way around. 

This workshop will introduce three major concepts – seduction, sexuality, and translation - that, taken together, establish Laplanche’s critique of the self-centeredness of psychoanalysis. While the “seduction theory” has been the object of considerable debate – abandoned by Freud in 1897, and then rehabilitated by contemporary trauma theorists – Laplanche shows why even recent efforts to acknowledge adult-infant seduction fall short of grasping the psychological importance of this event. Drawing on breakthroughs in neurobiology and affect theory, we will see how Laplanche’s reconceptualization of seduction firmly secures the role of other people in the constitution of our psychic lives. In addition to seduction, this workshop will explore Laplanche’s redefinition of ‘enlarged’ sexuality as distinct from prevailing ideas of sexuality. Finally, we will discuss Laplanche’s ideas of translation, which offers a major revision to existing theories of motivation. With seduction, sexuality, and translations as the new pillars of a radical psychoanalysis, Laplanche facilitates a bold and urgent reversal in how we understand the basic organization of internal life.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this presentation the participant will be able to:

  1. Describe what Laplanche means by the competing “Ptolemaic” and “Copernican” tendencies of psychoanalysis.
  2. Describe the importance of the “seduction theory” to psychoanalysis, and in particular, how Laplanche’s ideas on this topic differ from existing formulations.
  3. Define Laplanche’s concept of ‘enlarged’ sexuality and describe the meaning of this idea.
  4. Describe how Laplanche’s theory of translation differs from prevailing theories of motivation.
  5. Explain how Laplanche’s ideas of seduction, sexuality, and translation conduce to new conceptual foundations for psychoanalysis.

Timeline and Requirements:

The workshop will take place on Friday, May 7, 2021.  This workshop is presenter-led and is a fully online experience. This will be conducted synchronously online via Zoom from 2:00 pm-5:00 pm (EST). 

CE Sponsorship: 

University Counseling Services of Boston College is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. As a co-sponsor of this program, University Counseling Services of Boston College maintains responsibility for this program and its content." Participants will be eligible to receive 3 CE units from University Counseling Services of Boston College. 

The Lynch School of Education and Human Development is providing sponsorship for CEUs for Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC). Participants will be eligible to receive 3 CE units. These credits are accepted by the Massachusetts Board of Registration for Licensed Mental Health Counselors (Category I contact hours in Content Area I).

Participants must attend the lecture in full and complete the post event survey to be eligible to receive CEs. Please note, watching the recording is not a valid form of attendance.

This lecture does not offer CEs for social workers or other clinicians not listed above. 

Fees & Policies:

Payment is due by credit card at registration. Registration closes May 6th at 5pm. Refunds will be granted only up until registration closes at 5pm on May 6th. No refunds will be granted for registration or technical errors on the participant's part (such as incorrect name/email, login failure, etc.).

Additional offerings from the Lynch School Professional & Continuing Education Office can be found on our website