"NOTE TO SELF: It's Time to Learn Lacan!" - An Introduction to Lacanian Clinical Theory and Practice

December 2, 2023, 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

***Registration will close at 4:00 PM the day before the event. No registrations are possible after this time, no exceptions.***

All times listed are in Pacific Time (PT) unless otherwise noted.

Bruce Fink joins NCP to discuss Lacan’s Clinical Theory

"Analysts on the whole imagine that to understand is an end in itself... To think, it is often better not to understand; and one can gallop along, understanding for miles and miles, without the slightest thought being produced.” - Lacan, 1958

This meeting is designed for analytically oriented therapists interested in learning how Lacan’s ideas translate into clinical practice. Lacan’s clinical theory will be spelled out in detail; attendees need not be pre-acquainted with Lacan’s work. Attendees should come away with a solid grasp of the reasoning behind the Lacanian emphasis on bringing about four specific change-producing clinical events. The goal of this program is to challenge preconceived notions about how therapy works–particularly, the belief that psychic change chiefly results from a conveyance of the analyst’s knowledge about the patient to the patient—typically in the form of interpretations. The program is structured as a dialogue between student (Richard Tuch) and teacher (Bruce Fink).

Lacan emphasized the task of creating a facilitating environment favoring the emergence of sequestered psychic content that comes forth unwittingly when free association reveals to the patient things he barely knew he knew until he heard himself say as much out loud. Lacanians also facilitate a patient’s use of symbolic (meaningful) speech and tolerance of uncertainty and states of unknowing.

A study of Lacan’s clinical theory calls for nothing less than a thoughtful reconsideration of psychoanalysis’ most basic assumptions about how therapy effects change:

  • Whether the unconscious can be made conscious.
  • Whether improving a patient’s tolerance of uncertainty and the unknown is a clinically vital goal.
  • Whether deconstructing (calling into question) a patient’s core assumptions and prevailing beliefs about who he is as a person is as centrally important as Lacanians claim it to be.
  • Whether treatment is better served when the analyst is less forthcoming and less clear about his ideas about the patient.
  • Whether it is important to conduct treatment in a fashion that emphasizes the patient’s responsibility for his suffering and for the lion’s share of the clinical work.


8:30-9:00 Sign in

9:00-9:20 Welcome and Introduction, Aranye Fradenburg

9:20-10:00 Introduction to Lacanian Clinical Theory, Richard Tuch

10:00-10:30 Response by Bruce Fink, Q & A

10:30-10:45 Break

10:45-11:30 Introduction to Lacanian Clinical Practice, Richard Tuch

11:30-12:00 Response by Bruce Fink, Q & A

12:00-1:00 Lunch (Will be provided)

1:00-2:00 Bruce Fink presentation of Clinical Material

2:00-3:00 General Q & A and wrap up


Learning Objectives

As a result of attending this session, participants should be able to:

  • Compare the core differences between a mainstream approach and a Lacanian approach to treatment

  • Describe what Lacanian analysts believe lies at the root of a patient’s troubles

  • Explain the clinical benefits of “bringing to speech” and “movement from empty speech to full speech”

  • Explain the basic concept of a master signifier: how it manifests clinically and how a Lacanian approach aims to expand one’s sense of self-definition as determined by that determiner

  • Compare Lacan's three “registers”— The Imaginary, The Symbolic, and The Real

  • Explain the clinical value of helping patients come to terms with irreducible gaps created by the difference between what they wish for and what is ultimately achievable

  • Compare existing theories offered to explain the mutative effects of therapy (“therapeutic action”) with those proposed by Lacanian analysts

  • Describe why Freud’s dictum “make the unconscious conscious” may no longer apply as it once had as a reasonable model of therapeutic action

  • Describe what is meant by “oracular speech” and be able to explain the utility of speaking in such a non-specific way during treatment


Bruce Fink, PhD: Highly recognized, published expert in Lacanian psychoanalysis; MA in Philosophy and PhD in Psychoanalysis, University of Paris, VIII; psychoanalytically trained at the Ecole de la Cause Freudienne, Paris, France. Recipient of the 2015 Book Prize for scholarly contributions, awarded by the American Board & Academy of Psychoanalysis. Board member of the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Center.

Richard Tuch, MD: Training and Supervising Analyst, New Center for Psychoanalysis, and the Psychoanalytic Center of California. Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles; former Dean, New Center for Psychoanalysis; Head of the Scholarship Section of the Department of Psychoanalytic Education, American Psychoanalytic Association.


Aranye Fradenburg Joy, PhD: Professor Emerita of English and Comparative Literature, University of California, Santa Barbara; Research Psychoanalyst; Dean of the New Center for Psychoanalysis; PhD in Psychoanalysis.


  • This is a hybrid conference. It will be held in person at NCP and via Zoom.
  • Pre-registration is required. 
  • In-person registration is limited to 75 participants.
  • 4.5 CE/CME credits offered
  • Signature is required for Continuing Education Credit. Zoom attendees must "sign" in and out at the beginning and end of the lecture in the Zoom meeting Chat to receive credit.
  • You will receive a confirmation and event-details message by email after registering. Contact Byrd at byrdb@n-c-p.org if you have questions.   


Due to the confidentiality of material presented, this program will NOT be recorded.


General registration (in person or on Zoom) $160 | Candidates, Students, Residents & Fellows (in person or on Zoom) $95

Please contact Byrdb@n-c-p.org if you have trouble registering. 

Please complete all registration pages until you come to the final "Receipt" page. This will complete your registration and ensure the confirmation email with the meeting details is sent to you.

"How do I get my CE/CME Credit?"

  1. Pre-Register below
    • If you are registering for the first time you will receive a welcome email. You must follow the directions in this email to complete your registration in order to access your certificates. 
  2. "Sign" in and "sign" out during the event (by typing your full name into the chat). This is how we record your attendance at the event.
  3. Wait 5 business days.
  4. Download your Certificate on the NCP website. 



IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters for this educational activity have relevant financial relationship(s)* to disclose with ineligible companies* whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.

*Financial relationships are relevant if the educational content an individual can control is related to the business lines or products of the ineligible company.

-Updated July 2021-

PHYSICIANS: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of American Psychoanalytic Association and The New Center for Psychoanalysis. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.” 

The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for a maximum of 4.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

PSYCHOLOGISTS: The New Center for Psychoanalysis is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  The New Center for Psychoanalysis maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Psychologists must report CE credits directly to MCEP using this document to verify attendance. Please note that a Psychologist must attend the CE program in its entirety in order to receive credit.  

SOCIAL WORKERS, MARRIAGE and FAMILY THERAPISTS (LCSW, LMFT, ASW, IMF, LEP, LPCC, PCCI): The New Center for Psychoanalysis is a continuing education provider that has been approved by the American Psychological Association, a California Board of Behavioral Sciences recognized approval agency.

Continuing Education Policies and Information