Psychoanalysis as an Ethical Praxis

Ethics Conference with Marianna Adler, PhD, FABP

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March 24, 2018

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Ethical discourse, as conceived of by the ancient Greeks, addresses the question: what is the right way to live as a human being?  The answer we give depends upon what we understand a human being to be, and what it is in human life that we find to be of value.  I will argue that inherent in psychoanalytic discourse are answers to these very questions.  As such, psychoanalysis by its very nature constitutes an ethical discourse and an ethical praxis.  Turning to the psychoanalytic literature, I will examine how the Fundamental Rule of free association, the efforts to make the unconscious conscious and the analyst’s responsibility to safeguard the place of the other, the space of difference within the treatment constitute the pillars of a psychoanalytic ethics. 


1. Participants will be able to identify the ways in which psychoanalytic discourse constitutes an ethical praxis. 

2. Participants will be able to explain how the Fundamental Rule grounds a psychoanalytic ethics based on the commitment to pursue the individual’s truth. 

3. Participants will be able to discuss how psychoanalytic responsibility towards an otherness that can never be fully known  grounds the ethics of the relationship of analyst to patient. 

Marianna Adler, Ph.D., FABP, is a Training and Supervising psychoanalyst in private practice in Austin, Texas. She is a Fellow of the American Board of Psychoanalysis and is on the faculty of the Center For Psychoanalytic Studies in Houston and Austin. Dr. Adler has previously presented papers to both the Houston-Galveston Psychoanalytic Society and the Austin Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology on such topics as mourning and psychoanalysis, shame, Jacques Lacan, and creative inhibitions. Her paper “Bion and the Analytic Attitude” was the lead article for Round Robin, Winter 2010. “The Blank Page: Creative Imagination and its Inhibitions” was published in the Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis in 2008. 

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