Intensive Doctoral School

Specialist Course for UGent Doctoral School

Academic year 2022-2023

Course Title:


Mental Health Care, Research, Psychoanalysis and Philosophy

Lacan’s Seminar VI: Desire and it’s Interpretation.

Relevance for today’s clinic, and culture



 Prof. Dr. Bruce Fink


Organizing committee:


Scientific committee

Besides the members of the UGent organizing committee, this proposal is endorsed by

  • University of Pittsburgh Duquesne:
  • Dr. Derek Hook; Duquesne Pittsburgh,
  • University libre de Bruxelles:
  • Dr. Ariane Bazan; Department of Psychology and Education,, TEL 02 650 67 63
  • University of Edinburgh Napier:
  • Dr. Calum Neill; Edinburgh Napier,


Topic and theme of the course

This seminar will be dedicated to a close reading of Lacan’s Seminar VI: ‘Desire and its Interpretation’. It could be argued that the question of desire can be placed at the heart of analytic theory and practice. However, in these modern times, is this still the case? In this doctoral school we will examine Lacan’s notion of desire as it is developed in and around Seminar VI. Various neurotic configurations of desire will be explored, and contrasted with what we find in the structure of psychosis. The questions raised and contributions made in each section of the Seminar will be explored one by one: The Dream of the dead Father as discussed by Freud, The case ‘with the little cough’ of Ella Sharpe; Lacan’s reinterpretation of Hamlet, as the tragedy of desire; and the dialectics of desire. Last, we will discuss the paradoxical notion that ‘desire is its interpretation’.



Prof. Dr. Bruce Fink is a practicing Lacanian psychoanalyst and analytic supervisor. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Department of Psychoanalysis at the University of Paris VIII (Saint-Denis) and served as a Professor of Psychology from 1993 to 2013 at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is currently on the Board of Directors of the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Center.

Dr. Fink is the author of six books on Lacan, some of which have been translated into many different languages. He has translated several of Lacan’s works, including the Écrits: The First Complete Edition in English (New York: Norton, 2006), for which he received the 2007 nonfiction translation prize from the French-American Foundation and the Florence Gould Foundation. Important for this doctoral school is that in 2019 he published the official translation of Seminar VI with Polity Press.


Added value of the course

This Specialist Doctoral Course introduces the researchers in psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and the problem of desire in contemporary culture. It aims at questioning and discussing fundamental assumptions underlying the study of human behaviour in the social and human sciences. Being open for doctoral students from the humanities, life sciences, and social sciences the course guarantees a genuine interdisciplinary dialogue.

Participants: maximum 20


Timing and program


We propose two consecutive days (July 14 and 15, 2023). Dates: 14-15 juli 2023.

The two days of teaching offer a close-reading of Seminar VI: Desire and its Interpretation. The participants should read the Seminar or at least familiarize themselves with it before attending the course.  


 Day One: On Desire in Dreams 

9:00 – 10:45 – On Desire in Dreams

10:45 – 11:00 – Coffee Break

11:00 – 12:30 – The Dream about the Dead Father

12:30 – 13:45 – Lunch

13:45 – 15:30 – A Dream Analyzed by Ella Sharp

15:30 – 15:45 – Break

15:45 – 17:15– Discussion on the ‘Dream’ chapters



Day Two: Hamlet and the Tragedy of Desire

9:00 – 10:45 – Introduction on Hamlet

10:45 – 11:00 – Break

11:00 – 12:30 – Lacanian discussion of Hamlet

12:30 – 13:45 – Lunch

13:45 – 15:30 – Configurations of desire in obsession, hysteria, phobia, and perversion.

15:30 – 15:45 – Break

15:45 – 17:15 – Desire and its interpretation



Each day will consist of:

  • Close-reading of the text.
  • Discussion of the key references Lacan makes use of.
  • Understanding what is at stake in each part of the seminar


The evening before the doctoral school, we will have an evening activity in which Prof. Dr. Bruce Fink will present an introduction to the seminar, followed by a reception.


Sent CV and reason for wishing to attend to Students who qualify will receive approval by e-mail.

Registration is final after payment.