Neuropsychoanalysis and the Concepts of Lacan

Neuropsychoanalysis and the Concepts of Lacan: Theoretical and Clinical Perspectives

John Dall’Aglio, Discussant Margaret Zellner, PhD

Saturday Nov 5, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

In this lecture, John Dall’Aglio will describe how the Lacanian concepts of “real,” “symbolic,” and “jouissance” can be tethered to neural functioning. While highly theoretical, these concepts become relatable when connected to brain functions, and can then be applied to everyday subjective and clinical experience.

flyerIn the first half of this presentation, Dall'Aglio will propose that the structural conflict among Panksepp’s emotional systems of the brain is a neural correlate for the Lacanian concept of “the real.” This conflict produces surplus neural prediction error, which he proposes is a correlate for jouissance. Predictions can be cast as Lacanian signifiers in a network that is structured like a language. Affects also can function as signifiers, he will argue, making language and affect intertwined at the deepest levels of the brain.

In the second half of the program, clinical implications of this Lacanian neuropsychoanalytic theory will be proposed, including: 1) attending to Panksepp’s emotional systems should involve identifying the unique constellation of conflict for each individual patient, 2) intervention (including interpretation, punctuation, and variable length sessions) aims at shaking up the predictive model to drive memory reconsolidation, and 3) the notion that premature automatized predictions can be provocatively and playfully modulated. Clinical vignettes will be invited by participants. Dr. Maggie Zellner will lead our discussions of the presentation.

CE Credits offered: 3

Course Objectives

After completing this course participants will be able to:

  1. Describe how the Lacanian concepts of real, symbolic, and jouissance can be tethered to neural functioning.
  2. Discuss how the Lacanian neuropsychoanalytic approach to language does not oppose language to affect (as in the typical cognitive-affective dichotomy), but rather views the symbolic is deeply intertwined with affect at the deepest levels of the brain.
  3. Approach clinical interventions as invoking provocation and play with predictions. – 415-288-4050 — 530 Bush St, Suite 700, SF CA USA —

The Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California (PINC) is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. PINC maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Visit for policies and disclaimers.

November 5th, 2022 9:00 AM
Online via Zoom (Pacific Time Zone)
United States