Psychoanalysis put to the test of autism




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The iconic film about autism in France


THE WALL, Psychoanalysis put to the test of autism outlines the psychoanalytical views of autism, with the words of ten psychoanalysts and a paediatrician close to the Lacanian perspective. This is the first time that professionals have developed their theories in plain language. Sophie Robert shows their long-held strong views on the cause of autism: a psychosis induced by poor mother-infant relationship, and the perspectives of psychoanalytical care: therapeutical nihilism leading to institutionalization for life.

THE WALL, Psychoanalysis put to the test of autism ,was directed in 2011 by Sophie Robert, and produced by OCÉAN INVISIBLE PRODUCTIONS, in partnership with the foundation AUTISTES SANS FRONTIÈRES (Autism without borders, hereafter AUTISTES SANS FRONTIÈRES) chaired by Vincent Gerhards advocates for children’s school attendance.

French-speaking countries are more than 40 years behind concerning care for autistic persons, compared to other developed countries. For this reason, France has been condemned five times by the Council of Europe for serious failure in its obligations towards persons with autism. The reasons are given for 52 minutes.

In those countries, psychiatry is still largely dominated by psychoanalysis. However, psychoanalysts claim a hegemonic position, whereas their praxis is based on unscientific theories which have not progressed for one century.

This film has removed the wall of silence that hangs over care for people with pervasive developmental disorders in France, the French-speaking part of Switzerland and Belgium.

Released in September 2011 on the AUTISTES SANS FRONTIÈRES website, the film virally reached the whole world within a few days. Then three of the psychoanalysts interviewed filed an emergency lawsuit; the film was banned for two years, and wholly allowed to be broadcasted again by the Court of Appeal in Douai on January 16th 2014.

THE WALL, Psychoanalysis put to the test of autism, is the very first part of a three-feature-film series – La psychanalyse dévoilée – aiming to unveil the fundamentals of the psychoanalytical theory and praxis via those who practice and pass it, i.e. 25 psychoanalysts and 3 similar professionals.
Indeed, psychoanalysts are another French exception: they have almost disappeared in the rest of the world, but are claiming in France a form of mighty and unlimited power on the treatement of mental disorders. However, very few French people are unable to understand their jargon and their way of thinking, protected by a speech particularly opaque, featuring many contradictions that have a stunning effect on their listeners.

It is the result of a four-year investigation with 52 psychoanalysts, a psychoanalytical anthropology work and a situational analysis up to date. It explains why, after failing to become a therapy, psychoanalysis has become after many decades a sect whose ideology is passed through a more and more fundamentalist interpretation of "founding fathers’" texts.
This documentary trilogy aims to understand and question perspectives together: a prerequisite to a national debate on psychoanalysis to be conducted in France, regarding its huge influence in psychiatry, the medico-social sector and justice (legal experts).


Dr. Alexandre STEVENS, psychiatrist-psychoanalyst head of belgian institution Le Courtil, which hosts 250 autistic children

Eric LAURENT, psychoanalyst and ECF member

Esthela SOLANO-SUAREZ, psychologist-psychoanalyst specialised in autism and ECF member

Pr. Bernard GOLSE, psychoanalyst, head of the children’s psychatric department of the French hospital Necker

Pr. Pierre DELION, psychoanalyst, head of children’s psychatric department of the University Regional Hospital in Lille

Dr. Geneviève LOISON, psychiatrist-psychoanalyst, referent paediatric psychiatrist in the Lille Metropolis

Laurent DANON-BOILEAU, linguist and psychoanalyst in the centre Alfred Binet for autistic children

Pr. Daniel WIDLOCHER, psychoanalyst, former head of the psychiatric department of the hospital Pitié Salpêtrière

Jacqueline SCHAEFFER, psychoanalyst, author of several essays on feminity.

Yann BOGOPOLSKI, psychoanalyst of Kleinian orientation, specialized in incest and crimes against children

Dr. Aldo NAOURI, paediatrician of Lacanian orientation, author of essays on mother-infant relationship


September 7th 2011: THE WALL, psychanalyse à l'épreuve de l'autisme, is premiered in the film theatre l'Entrepôt in Paris and on the website of the association Autistes Sans Frontières which organises the event. Parents and associations get immediately mad for the film reflecting their painful past experience. The French group Egalited, on the site Autisme Infantile moderated by Nathalie Hamidi and Béatrice Bolling, and a handful of associations spread the film everywhere in social networks on autism.

Two bilingual parents, Karina and Laurent Alt, subtitle it in Spanish and English to reach a wider audience. Within a few days, THE WALL spreads like wild fire online, on autism networks in French-speaking countries like elsewhere.

The French blogger Magali Pignard, mother of a young autistic boy, was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. She calls for psychiatrists’, researchers’ and autistic celebrities’ reaction about psychoanalysts’ words in THE WALL. Professor Travis Thompson is the first one to answer in a letter that was then translated into french and widespread on social networks. Celebrities in the world of autism such as Temple Grandin, Donna Williams, Pr. Tony Atwood and Judy Baron follow him.

October 5th 2011: a court bailiff arrives in the head quarters of Océan Invisible Productions to seize the rushes of the psychoanalysts' interviews conducted by Sophie Robert. This petition had been launched by three psychoanalysts among the eleven ones interviewed: Alexandre Stevens, Eric Laurent and Esthela Solano-Suarez, members of the Ecole de la Cause Freudienne (ECF) whose leading figure is Jacques Alain-Miller, son-in-law and testamentary executor of the most famous French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. Esthela Solano has hosted for 25 years autistic children in her practice. Alexandre Stevens is Chief of Psychiatry in an institution for autistic children founded in Belgium close to the French border for about thirty years. Le Courtil hosts today about 330 children, mostly French children in a strictly psychoanalytical orientation. In an extract of his interview, Alexandre Stevens reports that only Lacanian psychoanalysis and philosophy are authorized as training sessions at Le Courtil.

The document (hereafter "order Regional Court in Lille 18.10.2011" ) allows the bailiff to come with a police chief and question the film director on the localisation of rushes. Those are not referred, as they are in her lawyer’s office. Nevertheless, Sophie Robert gives the bailiff DVDs with extracts of three psychoanalysts being interviewed in their very wide context (3 hours of rushes among 6 hours of interview).

October 27th 2011: Sophie Robert, Océan Invisible Productions, Vincent Gerhards and AUTISTES SANS FRONTIÈRES are informed of a petition for a fixed-date summons. The urgency procedure fixed on December 8th 2011 (hereafter "fixed-date summons 08.12.2011" ) takes place at the Regional Court in Lille. The three ECF psychoanalysts who had launched this petition, Alexandre Stevens, Eric Laurent and Esthela Solano-Suarez, demand that their testimony be banned from the film, claiming that the editing turned it into a ridiculous and dogmatic view. Moreover, they demanded from Sophie Robert, Océan Invisible Productions and AUTISTES SANS FRONTIÈRES € 290,000 in damages for damaging their reputation. The three ECF psychoanalysts lawyer is named Maître Christian Charrière-Bournazel. Vincent Gerhards and AUTISTES SANS FRONTIÈRES members are defended by Maître Laetitia Benard, from cabinet Allen & Overy. By then, Sophie Robert and Océan Invisible Productions's defense is held by Maître Benoît Titran.

Psychiatrists, psychologists, researchers in neurological and cognitive sciences and celebrities in the world of autism publicly pleaded for Sophie Robert’s and AUTISTES SANS FRONTIÈRES cause: Brigitte Axelrad, Pr. Yehezkel Ben-Ari, Olivier Bousquet, Pr Mikkel Borsch-Jacobsen, Pr. Thomas Bourgeron, Fabienne Cazalis, Serge Christin, Pr. Jean Cottraux, Dr Charlie Cungi, Pr. Esteve Freixa i Baque, Pr Nouchine Hadjikhani, Dr. Jean-Pierre Ledru, Dr Jean-Pierre Luauté, Dr. Frederique Petit, Franck Ramus, Michael Reber, Pr. Jacques Van Rillaer , Pr. Vinca Rivière, Pr. Bernadette Roge, Dr Igor Thiriez, Pr Laurent Vercueil, Tiziana Zalla.

In parallel, Sophie Robert and Vincent Gerhards were supported by associations like Autisme France and Autisme Europe, received plenty of testimonies from parents and autistic persons (refer to the PDF file here ), starting with Hugo Horiot, who wrote his autobiography 'The Emperor, c'est moi".

November 2011: The three psychoanalysts who lodged a complaint against THE WALL experienced the "Streisand effect". This lawsuit supposed to ban their own words had a reverse effect, i.e. drew the attention of journalists on the film and controversies on care for autistic people in France. Press articles, interviews on the radio and TV (e.g.
France 5, RUE 89, L'Express, le Nouvel Observateur, l' International Herald Tribune,New York Times).

(You can read the detailed press review via the tab "Press review" in the bottom).

Before the President of the Court in Lille, Sophie Robert and her lawyer Me Benoît Titran protested against the decision to give the plaintiffs access to rushes and the brutal process. The lawyer representing the three psychoanalysts attended the hearing and said: "My clients are honourable public figures". The magistrates coerced Sophie Robert to hand over all the rushes of their interviews to the plaintiffs and contested her ownership of those interviews (you can read the judgement of the Regional Court in Lille here ). The three psychoanalysts prepared to response. They claimed to be co-authors of their interviews, and consequently, that the film would not have be released without their full agreement, even if they had signed before an image rights authorization in due form.

In an official press release, Hervé Rony, director of the SCAM, organisation body for documentary film makers, was moved by the situation and supported Sophie Robert, and insisted on the risk induced by this lawsuit for the whole profession.


November 25th 2011: Vincent Gerhards/Autistes Sans Frontières and Sophie Robert/Océan Invisible Productions gave a press conference in the movie theatre L'Entrepôt, in Paris.

THE WALL has had a liberating effect in the world of autism since its release in 2011. Sophie Robert was overwhelmed with e-mails, phone calls and Facebook posts from parents who described the "double penalty" they felt every day, from morning to evening: not only having an autistic child, but also care in France. Then the filmmaker discovered the other side of the WALL, the real impact of psychoanalysts’ words on families’ life: the excessive handicap related to the absence of adapted care, the great difficulty of finding a school for children and giving adapted education, parents feeling guilty, especially mothers accused of being responsible for their child’s form of autism. Such victim-blaming attitudes frequently include social inquiries as a prerequisite for legal proceedings. The latters aim to withdraw of parental authority for "deprivation of care" as long as parents question psychiatric and psychoanalytical care given to their autistic child. So many institutions almost "kidnap children". Many persons with hig functioning autism are often sectioned for years and placed in a chemical strait jacket using the argument that they are psychotic, without any response to their social challenges. Psychiatrists, psychologists, educators and psychiatric nurses also bear witness to the difficulty of practicing their trade in an institution rejecting the scientific and medical frame of reference on the grounds that human mind obeys other laws than the nature’s ones.

December 3rd 2011: Association Autisme France invited Sophie Robert to the foundation’s annual congress. The filmmaker had the oppotunity to be highly honoured by the assistance of the Congress Centre, with its blue lecture hall, and meet celebrities in the world of autism. Sophie Robert met David Heurtevent, former student in the University of Georgetown, diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. He offered to have the lawsuit filed by the three ECF psychoanalysts covered to draw the attention of national and foreign journalists on the scandal of autism and psychoanalytical care in France. 

December 2011: The French prime minister François Fillon conferred on autism the label of
Great National Purpose for the year 2012. Collectif Autisme, an alliance of foundations dedicated to care for autistic people in France, was founded, with Vincent Gerhards, the founder of Autistes Sans Frontières as a chairman.


December 8th 2011: The trial following the summons took place before the Third Chamber of the Regional Court in Lille, at 2 p.m. in a tense atmosphere. Before the court, about a hundred parents of autistic children supported Sophie Robert and Autistes Sans Frontières. At the same time, 150 parents gathered in Paris and demonstrated in front of the head office of the ECF (video). You can also view two photo features here and here.

January 7th 2012: Offended by the WALL case, Brigitte Axelrad, psychosociologist specialised in manipulation of memory, assembled with Sophie Robert a focus group (psychologists, psychiatrists, researchers and foundation members) with a common desire for exchange and promoting evidence-based therapies in autism. One thing leading to another, that informal think tank called Lesmuriens created the KOllective of 7 January, who launched a Manifesto for science-based psychiatry and psychology, published on March 7th 2012 .
Psychologists and special education teachers report to Sophie Robert the emotions awakened by THE WALL in their establishments. Meetings were planned to discuss it.

January 18th 2012: the National Association of Day Care Centres (ANHDJ) organised a film screening with a debate (report of the neuropsychiatrist Monica Zilbovicus on the state of scientific knowledge of autism). Two mothers of autistic children came to the film screening and reported on the eloquent ensuing debate.

January 20th 2012: The deputy Daniel Fasquelle proposed a
controversed bill aiming to ban psychoanalysis from care for autistic people. Evelyne Friedel, deputy chairperson of Autisme Europe supported it. Evelyne Friedel, lawyer and mother of an autistic child, had lodged the first complaint before the Council of Europe leading to the First Autism Plan 2005-2007.

January 26th 2012: Sophie Robert was invited by Dr. Diane Fraser and Pr. Travis Thompson to present THE WALL during the annual congress of ABAI, foundation of behavioral psychologists in Philadelphia. Sophie Robert had got no compensation from ABAI or other organisations for presenting the WALL in the United States: plane, hotel, restaurant and dubbing costs were paid at the sole expense of her film production company. ABAI had not contributed to any film made by Sophie Robert. ABAI organisers intended to award her with the title of "ABA benefactor", which Sophie Robert turned down to avoid any confusion on her anthropology work about psychoanalysis).

On this occasion, she also stayed in New York with Magali Pignard and David Heurtevent. In New York, David Heurtevent organised a press conference on the day the verdict was given. There, Sophie Robert met Alex Plank, creator of the website "Wrong planet" on Asperger syndrome, Richard Pollak, journalist and author and the well-known biography of Bruno Bettelheim " The creation of Dr B. and Stuart Schneiderman, former psychoanalyst and ECF member in the 80s. Sophie Robert was in the head office of Autism Speaks, as the Regional Court in Lille rendered its decision.

The magistrates released Autistes Sans Frontières and convicted the three psychoanalysts to pay € 2,000 euros in damages for abuse of process. Moreover, the court rejected the co-author status of the three psychoanalysts in the documentary.

However, Sophie Robert was sentenced to withdraw the interviews of Alexandre Stevens, Esthela Solano-Suarez and Eric Laurent from the film, which meant banning the film as it stood. The film director and her film production company were convicted to pay the three plaintiffs € 25,000 in damages, along with € 9,000 for the publication of the judicial decision (see details in the file "Judgement Regional Court in Lille 26.01.2012.pdf" ) Besides this sentence, a further penalty of € 100 a day as long as the film was not withdrawn yet. To guarantee its immediate censorship, the magistrates accompanied their decision with an "immediate effect" on an exceptional basis (the appeal was initially suspensive).

Sophie Robert announced her decision to appeal and came back to France.

Three days later (pdf file needed) , a bailiff entered the head office of Océan Invisible Productions and demanded € 25,000 in damages within one week.

Sophie Robert was then defended by Maître Stefan SQUILLACI, supported by Maître Nicolas Bénoit concerning press law, for which she is now eternally grateful.

Ensuing from the judgement of 26 January 2011, Sophie Robert and Océan Invisible Productions encountered an extremely difficult work situation overnight: grants overturned, projects rejected, appointments cancelled, people not answering the phone anymore. Many people endorsed the judgement and blamed her for violating the trust of her interviewees. Those who supported her waited until the situation calmed down and justice can be done. It took actually two years. The extreme media coverage of the trial was very harmful for Sophie Robert, whose public could not ignore the situation. Although the decision rendered by the Regional Court in Lille affected only three interviews in The WALL, it concretly threatened the potential partners of the other parts of the documentary series on psychoanalysis. Indeed, Sophie Robert was facto prevented from pursuing her work. The trial had a real impact on her films in progress that had nothing to do with psychoanalysis or autism. People refused to be interviewed for fear that their views could be distorted.

However, the film director was given the support of Vincent Gerhards/Autistes Sans Frontières, as well as donations from many parents, foundations and researchers/ psychiatrists. That financial support was welcome, and came along with an unprecedented moral support from parents and professionals: "There will be a time before the WALL and a time after THE WALL"; "You have opened my eyes and I will never close them." Every day, many messages of acknowledgement and gratitude strengthened Sophie Robert in the sociological and historical dimension of her work. Parents of autistic children took the trial to heart and the court decision as a strong denial of their own pain.

She was also supported from abroad:
Pr. Uta Frith , Pr Dorothy Bishop, Pr. Joachim Fuentes, Dr. Maria Callias, Pr. Margot Prior, Pr. Anita Tapar, Pr. Charles A. Nelson III, Dr. Peter Vermeulen, Pr. Eric Taylor and the foundation Autism Speaks also pleaded for the cause of THE WALL.

March 4th 2012: The ECF organised a press conference at the Lutetia hotel to defend psychoanalytical care for autistic people. No journalist attended it, as no one was invited to the event for "not asking the right questions", according to Jacques-Alain Miller, who made it for his colleagues. Alexandre Stevens and Eric Laurent were among the contributors.

March 6th 2012: After two years of consultations and works, the Haute Autorité de Santé (French Health Authority) issued recommendations on care for autistic people ranking psychoanalysis and its institutional version among not recommended (in the first draft) and not consensual therapies (page 27 of the definitive version). In spite of intense lobbying, the newspapers Le Nouvel Obs and Libération presented the official withdrawal hanging on psychoanalytical care for autistic people.

March 2012: Jean-François Marmion, journalist for the magazine Le Cercle Psy, interviewed every protagonist successively. After
Sophie Robert, Alexandre Stevens came on March 7th, Eric Laurent and Esthela Solano-Suarez on March 14th. In her interview, Esthela Solano-Suarez vigourously claimed that she had never criminalised mothers of autistic children, and that it would not be ethical for a psychoanalyst to do so. However, on May 24th 2012, the French newspaper L'Expresspublished the transcript of an extract of her interview not included in THE WALL: during 8 long minutes, she asserted that a mother-infant relationship disorder was the real cause of autism for a child, along with a "deep abandon", a "failure in love". In an article pbulished on May 30th 2012, Jean-François Marmion ("THE WALL: a jeopardizing rush for psychoanalysis") went back to Mrs. Solano’s double talk, and note she did not intended to answer those new questions.

April 11th 2013: The psychiatrist-psychoanalyst and ECF member Jean-Robert Rabanel se produit during a conference on autism at the Institut du Travail Social in Auvergne. Facing a special education teachers, he made fun of autistic people’s speech impairments, recommended that autistic children be left out: "The less we do, the better they feel", or even "left in in buildings all day long". Here is a
meaningful extract . You can read the whole conference here .

May 2012 (date to be precised): Maître Stefan Squillaci defended Sophie Robert and Océan Invisible Productions at the hearing before the Court in Douai. He obtained the lifting of the temporary execution of damages under article 524 of the Civil Code.


photoLEMUR1 A fex days later, ignoring the magistrates’ decision, the three psychoanalysts attempted to seize € 25 000 from Sophie Robert’s account. You can read the letter from the bank here .

The three parties prepared for the appeal. Although they had been convicted in first instance to pay € 2,000 in damages to Autistes Sans Frontières for abuse of process, Eric Laurent, Alexandre Stevens and Esthela Solano-Suarez decided to sue the foundation again in compliance with the cross-appeal procedure, during the appeal.

During the following months, the lawyers of the three parties respond to their respective conclusions. Then, the appeal hearing was postponed for months due to several incidents.

May 2nd 2013: In an AFP report transcribed by Le Monde, Marie-Arlette Carlotti, minister in charge of persons with disabilities announced the Third Autism Plan during a speech accusing directly psychoanalytical domination in France. As a reminder: Conviction against France from the Council of Europe led to the First Autism Plan (2005) and the Second Autism Plan (2008) followed by the foundation of 28 experimental establishment providing autistic children with another form of care than institutional psychoanalysis, at the benefit of TEACCH or ABA educational support. Each of those establishments hosts 11 to 15 children. Today in France, only 400 children with severe autism out of 250,000 are deemed to benefit from adapted care. The others benefit from inadapted care leading to an excessive handicap, or even no care. As a comparaison, the establishment le Courtil founded by Alexandre Stevens hosts today 250 children.

November 8th 2013: About two years after the hearing for fixed-date summons in the Regional Court in Lille, the appeal was held before the Third Chamber of the Court of Appeal in Douai. The three ECF psychoanalysts were defended by Maître Christian Charrière-Bournazel. Vincent Gerhards and AUTISTES SANS FRONTIÈRES were defended by Maître Laetitia Benard, from the law firm Allen & Overy. Sophie Robert et Océan Invisible Productions were defended by Maître Stefan Squillaci (law firm Squillaci-Dupont Moretti) supported by Maître Nicolas Bénoit (law firm Lussan) concerning press law (refer to the report on the hearing here).

January 16th 2014: The Third Chamber of the Court of Appeal in Douai rendered its judgement (refer to the document called "Judgement Court of Appeal in Douai 16.01.2014" ). Deciding on the merits of the case, the magistrates observed that the editing phase had only simplified the views of the three psychoanalysts, "neither distorted nor ridiculed". The judges indicated in their judgement, page 12, that: « However, the psychoanalysts have, as stated above, freely accepted that their image and voice can be reproduced by extracts without control over the final work, and cannot blame the film director for expressing her personal view, even if they had not been informed from the start of her intention, which could have come under way. Here is the fundamental of freedom of speech concerning authors, especially filmmakers, like investigative reporters. Therefore, a fault and an abuse of this right would only have been proved under article 1382 of the Civil Code, if the filmmaker’s deliberate intention to harm the persons interviewed had been proved, i.e. a manifest distortion of their views and/or a presentation supposed to ridicule them. »

Consequently, the psychoanalysts who had the docuentary banned were sentenced:

"The Court sentences Esthéla SOLANO-SUAREZ, Eric LAURENT and Alexandre STEVENS in solidum to pay Sophie ROBERT and the limited liability company SARL OCEAN INVISIBLE PRODUCTIONS five thousand euros (€ 5,000) as a provision for the damage induced, besides the sum of five thousand euros (€ 5,000) under article 700 of the Code of Civil Procedure, for irrevocable costs of proceedings;

The Court sentences Esthéla SOLANO-SUAREZ, Eric LAURENT and Alexandre STEVENS in solidum to pay the AUTISTES SANS FRONTIÈRES foundation five thousand euros (€ 5,000) under article 700 of the Code of Civil Procedure, for irrevocable costs of proceedings."

In an interview conducted by la Voix du Nord, Sophie Robert’s lawyer, Maître Stefan Squillaci expressed complete satisfaction "It is an all-out victory". You can also read it on thewebsite of the TV channelFRANCE 5.

February 2014: Mrs. Marie-Arlette Carlotti, minister in charge of people with disabilities, sponsored Sophie Robert’s new documentary film
Quelque chose en plus. This film adresses educative, behavioral and developmental care for autistic people.

Febraury 5th 2014: France was condemned by the Council of Europe for the fifth time in a row for serious failure to its obligations concerning education for autistic children. In the United States and Non-French-speaking countries in Europe, 90% to 100% autistic children attend school – mainstream school for most of them. In France, less than 20% do so. All the more so that most of those few children are allowed in small classes only a few hours a week, until their undue disability excludes them definitely from the system. In junior high schools, less than 2% autistic children are hosted among their peers. Parents establishing a balance of power with schools to require compliance with the Act of 11 February 2005 for equal opportunities are frequently victims of reports social services for "raising concerns" and threatened with legal proceedings for withdrawal of parental authority.

March 2014: The three psychoanalysts, who had launched the petition, Alexandre Stevens, Eric Laurent and Esthela Solano-Suarez, forego any appeal in cassation.

April 11th 2014: Sophie Robert’s new film "Quelque chose en plus" is premiered, in the presence of her partners from the Fondation Autisme (Bertrand Jacques). The session took place in the Hôtel de région Ile de France in the presence of Jean-Paul Huchon, region chairperson, and
Guillaume Blanco, ministry representative in charge of the Third Autism Plan.

THE WALL, Psychoanalysis put to the test of autismhas been voluntarily subtitled by bilingual parents, Aspies and psychologists. Today, this world-renowned film is available in ten languages.

Sophie Robert is now working on the two next parts of the documentary trilogy: " Le phallus et le Pas-tout", and "Dans l'antre de la mère crocodile". THE WALL has been adapted to a 90-minute format, with extracts from interviews of three plaintiffs who had been withdrawn from the editing phase, as well as unreleased interviews of psychoanalysts who do not appear in the 52-minute version of the documentary. 


-Order Regional Court in Lille 18.10.2011
Fixed-date summons 08.12.2011
Judgement Regional Court in Lille 26.01.2012
Conclusions Me Christian Charrière-Bournazel
Conclusions Me Stefan Squillaci – Me Nicolas Bénoit
Judgement Court of Appeal in Douai 16.01.2014


PRESS REVIEW (in english)


THE HUFFINGTON POSTFrench psychoanalysts take legal action to ban film "The Wall" about autism 12/05/2011

Judge to hear request to ban film about autism 12/07/2011


WRONG PLANET Autism in France : psychoanalysis, packing and other travesties 01/17/2012


INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE Furor over treating autism in France 01/20/2012


NEW YORK TIMES A french film take issues with the psychoanalytic approach to autism 01/20/2012


WBUR'S COMMON HEALTH Autism treatment in France : retro, controversial and featured in film "le Mur" 01/20/2012


HAD ENOUGH THERAPY? Blog Stuart Scheiderman : Autism and french psychoanalysis 01/21/2012

TELEGRAPHEd West talks about autism in France 01/24/2015

BBC WORLD Autism in France 01/25/2012

HAD ENOUGH THERAPYStuart Schneiderman : An army of mothers 01/27/2012

FRENCH CONNECTION"The wall" a documentary denouncing the treatment of autism in France censored and banned in court 01/28/2012


PARLIAMENT UKJan Loxley-Blount about "the Wall" during a parliament session about autism and the child protection system


SUPPORT THE WALL Victory! Censorship against documentary "the Wall" is lifted! 01/16/2014



Le mur censure2


Translation to English : Laurent Alt                                                      Reviewed by Kathy and Andrew Beverly


00 00 Comment : For more than thirty years, the international scientific community has acknowledged that autism is a neurologic disorder that is the cause of a handicap in social interaction. All autists have the same anomaly in one area of the brain, the upper temporal line, identified in 2000 by Dr Monica Zilbovicius. In France, psychiatry, being very largely dominated by psychoanalysis, ignores these discoveries. To psychoanalysts, autism is a psychosis, in other words, a major psychic disorder resulting from a bad maternal relationship. 00 33


00 33 AS : I think that autism is a mode of reaction of the subject that is obviously very early in his logical history, if I can say so, it is that, finally, in response to what comes as invasion of the world and of the other, he clams up. He clams up, he gets into a bubble and refuses to enter the mechanisms of speech. But still some autists speak, don’t they, so it is more than speech, in the subjective mechanisms. I mean, speaking, yes, but without being really involved.

Subtitle :
Psychoanalyst ECF
Lead psychiatrist of the Institution for children « le Courtil », Tournai

SR : do you make a structural distinction between psychosis and autism ?

Alexandre Stevens : no. I don’t.

SR : are autists psychotic ?

AS : Yes. That is to say, autism is an extreme situation of something that is in the scope of the set of psychoses. 01 27


01 28 PD : The structural disctinction that one can make between autism on one hand, and child psychosis on the other hand that is real on the aspect of the description of the underlying structure, in fact, does not stand up to analysis in the continuity of this first structure and the second one. It seems to me that there are paths between the autistic structure, the psychotic structure, and the dysharmonic structure.

Subtitle :
Head of pedopsychiatry department, CHU of Lille

PD : Now, when we say that, we upset many associations of parents of autistic children, who think that autists have nothing to do with psychotics. To me, this is a mistake, there are many things in common. 02 04


02 04 : GL : It is the crocodile ! Here is the crocodile ! So the crocodile tells us right away what it is all about, they play with it and when they put the hand in, I am worried, or an object in, I am worried ; when they get on top of it and hit it, I feel reassured !

SR : why, what does the crocodile tell you ?

GL : they are fighting !

SR : what does this mean, the crocodile ?

GL : the crocodile is the mother’s belly, the mother’s teeth. 02 28

Subtitle :
DR Geneviève Loison
Lacanian Psychoanalyst
Primary child psychiatrist, Lille


02 29 (trees and sky turning + the wall appears)


Subtitle: psychoanalysis put to the test for autism 02 45


02 46 SR : this is what Lacan used to call the mother : a crocodile ?

GL : yes, so the goal of our work is to forbid her to eat,… well …

SR : To eat the child ?

GL : we put a stick in him, that’s all. And then the child, when he starts getting out of this, sometimes he puts his hand ! Sometimes he puts a figurine in.

SR : and this pen, what does it stand for ?

GL : so this, it is, there, you can’t any more, it is the bar.

SR : it is the father’s phallus ?

GL : that’s it, you can’t do that any more !

SR : it is the father’s law ?

GL : yes.

SR : that bars the child from his mother ?

GL : right.

SR : and that forbids the mother to destroy the child.

GL : right, and to devour him.

                  SR : Does is also relate to autistic children ?

GL : Of course yes. For autists, it is a matter of stage, you see, we take the children at some stage. The autistsn they often take,… they often put the child in there. They go in there.  Then, we get worried, right ? 03 40


03 48 Guillaume : Hi, my name is Guillaume, I have autism at 80% and my problem is that I have behavior problems from time to time. I have tried to have as little as possible. My two brothers are Julien and Gabriel. One who is hyperactive, Julien, he has behavior problems like me. He throws tantrums. And Gabriel who is « mad ». Who is mad … HEY !!! And Gabriel who … And Julien who comes to nag me. Ouch Julien ! And they do that, they keep making me fall !

SR : can you introduce Julien to us ? The big Julien ?

G : Big Julien, he is a brother who has autism, like me, but who does not speak.  He is not my brother. He is Florian’s brother. … he does not speak.  …. Help ! 04 51


04 52 SR : regarding both psychosis and autism, there is an explanation that is traditionnally used, it is that a maternal depression during pregnancy or the first months of the baby’s life would have altered the mother-child relationship, and could be responsible of severe disorders. DW : so, this is what serious colleagues tell us, so consequently, I listen to them. 05 14

Subtitle :
Psychoanalyst – APF
Former Psychiatry Department lead – Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris


05 15 AS : it can be the case, when the child comes in such conditions where the other, his first « other », the mother, is very depressed, I mean she will be absent from him, will be in another look at him, in another kind of hangingon him, that it could, sometimes make it so that the child chooses to withdraw. Sometimes, when the mother is depressed, in utero, I mean when she is pregnant or at birth, sometimes the child can be autistic. 05 45


05 46 GL : Woah, well we have seen a few of them, I remember, it was when I was in a psychiatric clinic, that I have seen them, mostly. I have seen massive things, massive voids, disorders, … I have seen abandonned mothers. I have seen… for each autist, there was, I would say, a different cause. I have seen many mothers abandonned at the end of pregnancy. And the child … depressive mothers too, mothers in the baby blues afterwards, abandonned at the end of pregnancy who have a baby blues after delivery, who are themselves in the emptiness and who put the child in the relational emptiness. 06 24


06 24 DW : For example a deep deficiency. For instance a mother who, for reasons of depression, does not take any care of her child, stays mute in front of him, clotted, while the child is there, starting to hang on her, looking for contact, …etc. It can, if it lasts long during childhood, have consequences on the young adult who will keep being very cold, inhibited from an affective perspective because, when he was a child, he unfortunately had a very cold mother. 06 58


06 58 SR : is there a higher incidence of the cases of psychosis or autism in countries involved in a war, in the shanty towns of Rio, in all circumstances when mothers have good reasons to be depressed ?

GL : I am not aware of this, I can not answer, I can only answer about what happens in my practice, you see … 07 15


07 16 Sabrina : Here, it is smoky. He loves doing smoke so, ha, … he loves being outside.

So now is the period of the year he likes least because, he can’t go out… so eating, and, … otherwise, .. it is true that he can’t occupy himself so it is about going out for a walk, eating, moving a lot, doing … so at the IME (Note : Specialized center), he does some biking but here, I can’t take him because he can pedal but he can’t actually brake and look out, so it would be risky. He does roller too. But according to the road surface, it has to be very smooth. So it is indoor. 08 05

Subtitle :


08 10 SR : It is odd that, to justify the motherhood’s toxicity towards the child, psychoanalysts do not hesitate to resort to biology. 08 15


08 17 SR : How can one explain that a maternal depression could cause a child to be autistic ? To start with in utero ?

AS : so, first of all, in utero some things already happen, I am not a specialist of in utero, but there are things happening : the child moves, mothers speak, mothers talk to him and react to a number of stimuli. In fact, what do children know about the link to the other, in utero ? It does not completely go through language, but it goes through the whole environment of corporal sounds. And… finally, a depressed mother, when the child is there in utero, does the child feel anything ? I am totally unable to tell you, but I do not feel like it is odd to think so. 09 08


09 09 AN : so, most of the time, the symptom of the child is no more no less than the symptom that is allotted to have by the maternal unconscious, mainly, because children are in a relationship that is very very very permeable in the communication with their mother. Gestation litterally conditions a child, and forms him, and and really gives him something entirely produced by the body, that comes from his mother’s body : this weakens the field, meaning that it puts the child in a state where his resistance is altered by the conditions that come from his environment. 10 01

Subtitle :
Paediatrician – analyst - essayist


10 02 BG : For the baby, there is one part, one half of his genes, of his chromosomes are from his mother, the other half from the father. So, there is one part that is like the mother, this one does not pose any problem, but there is one part that is like the father and that immediately poses a problem, and by the way, as soon as the baby is conceived, the motherly organism will immediately secrete a very strong wave of antibodies to expel the baby that is half stranger to the mother’s body. It is a little sad to say, if I can say, but finally, the first thing that, biologically, the mother cannot stand in her baby, it is the part that comes from the father. So what is anthropological in there is the double « no ». No, I do not recognize this baby, I want to eject him, and at once, a no to the no. Which we will find later in the language. There is a whole interesting question, and in language, one will find such double negations. This comes at the biology level.

10 53

Subtitle :
Psychoanalyst - APF
Child Psychiatry Departement lead - Hôpital Necker, Paris


10 56 Some nice mess… 11 47


11 48 SR : Why don’t severe autists speak ?

DW : I don’t know. My first idea is that they do not speak because they are not stimulated for speach. Like children that are very little surrounded by a stream of language often have language difficulties even though they do not have autism, consequently, there is a language stimulation, a parental stimulation, of the environment, that is very important. 12 15


12 17 AS : We are not neurologically wired for language. Psychoanalysis does not belong here, if you want… we are not wired for language, of course it takes the capacity to speak but the essential thing is that, precisely, language is outside of the organism. 12 33


12 34 GL : Why would they communicate, they are in fusion. They communicate without words, there is no need to acquire speech. Speech implies access to the symbolic, huh, access to the father. I am not only with my mother, there exists a father who created me at the origin, who was the founder, with his paternal might, who has created a child. Only progressively will the child discover this.

SR : In what does the father embody the symbolic ?

GL : Ha, this is difficult… It is access to abstraction, access to the distance. Access, one has to speak when one is no longer glued. He comes to interpose, between the mother and the child. 13 21


13 21 BG : speaking with the other means that one is no longer merged with the other. I mean, as long as one is no longer separate, as long as one is merged with the other, combined in the other, which is the problem for autistic children, precisely, for whom the other does not exist, by the way, but when the other starts emerging, they are still in such a pathologic distance that they can’t speak with the other. 13 39


13 40 SR : About autistic children, it is said that their mother cannot catch their eye ?

GL : well yes, they are not at all in the relationship, they are staying in an egg.

SR : they flee the mother because they are merged with the mother ?

GL : they have not taken off at all, I say, they have stayed in the egg, in the uterus. They have stayed in it, why do you want them to look or speak ? 14 00


14 01 BG : You can not think of the other one, you can not speak with the other one unless you have some free range. As long as you are still included, interpenetrated, merged with the other one, you can neither think to the other one, nor speack with him, this is almost a truism. If language touches us so much all our life long, and psychoanalysis goes through language, it is that language is only about separation. That is a vision, … very, very, well, … it is a vision of development that is extremely specific to the psychoanalytic vision of things. 14 36


14 42 Sandrine : Practically, it was when we would call him, he would not look at us, he would simply not answer. He did not speak, he did not play with other children, no center of interest, well, he would not play with other children, he would not mix.

Subtitle :
Mom   Dad

Stéphane : delay for walking

Sandrine : this was Guillaume at the age of 2. 18 months, 2 years, even 2 and a half. And it is true that he would line up all objects, water bottles, cigarette packs, he would take everything and line up, he used to play with lights, « day-night-day- night-day-night ». That was nice. So, quite a few stereotypies. A lot of trouble with changes, in fact. If we changed our way to go to some place, he could throw a tantrum, if we passed near somewhere he liked and did not stop, if we only passed by, it was a tantrum too. When we crumpled a candy wrapper, he came to us running, but, when he was 3 meters from us, we called him : Guillaume ! he did not turn his head. So, it is true that there were important signs, right ? 15 35


15 43 SR : The Psyche does not evolve independently of the brain, it does not wander alone in void.

If we have, on one side, a normal child with a well functioning brain, and on the other side an autistic child with a malfunctioning brain, doesn’t it make a fundamental difference in its capacity to communicate with the outer world ?  

Subtitle :
Psychoanalyst – ECF
Clinician psychoanalyst

ES : This way of conceiving the causality of autism is very reductive. What we can notice when we take care of autistic children is precisely that autists are sick of language. That autism is a way to defend themselves from language. 16 30


16 38 SR : What did you feel when you understood that Guillaume had autism ?

Sandrine : euh… a blow with a club on my head. Tremendous. It was « what’s happening to us ? », « what’s happening to him », « what is it ? » « why ? ». We really ask ourselves all these questions, we go through stages of fear, anger, guilt. We go through all those stages, then, and pull ourselves up and we go on, we tell ourselves that it whining does not help, we are going to find out what it takes to have him improve. To help him grow up right, the best possible. Mix with others. So this is it, and we have done all the work with parents groups, and we learned that there were educative methods to teach them how to communicate, to develop and reduce anxiety. So, to open up to the world, simply.

SR : it is the PECS method ?

Sandrine : PECS, yeah, and it worked really well with Guillaume.

SR : it means, practically, with pictures? It’s communication with pictures ?

Sandrine : Yes, precisely, yes, it means that in order to ask me for a glass of water : with him I started out with a card because he would take the water, and spit the water on the ground. So I thought, do I start right away with this, because he make it a game, I thought don’t worry, I tried it, so to ask me for water, I taught him to give me the card, so as soon as he gave it to me, he got water. And after 2 or 3 times, he understood that to get some water, he had to give me the card, so it worked that way for water to start with, then we proceeded with food, and lots of other things, and after how long ? After,  say, 2 or 3 months of PECS, he started saying his first words, and after 6 months he no longer used PECS because he was making sentences.

SR : at what age ?

Sandrine : he was almost 4. So, for this, it was very beneficial to him. His language developed very fast with PECS. … And what a victory.

Stéphane : Yes.

Sandrine : the first « maman » : Wow ! Knocked over ! 18 33


18 37 Comment : the austrian-american psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim was the precursor of the psychoanalytic treatment of autism. Bettelheim compared autistic children with concentration camp prisonners that were swinging back and forth, staggered by terror, waiting for an imminent death. Reasoning by analogy, he was convinced that autists were the victims of torturer parents, freezing mothers who had desired the death of their child. Bettelheim’s work has been largely rejected in the USA since more than thirty years. But how is it in France ? 19 08


19 09 PD : Bruno Bettelheim is a victim of injustice of contemporary history. I think that he did his work, at a time when no one cared for autists, an absolutely exemplary pioneering work. I got interested in autists because he was coming out of an artificial deficiency experience that he had gone through in concentration camps. He arrived on the autistic planet thinking that finally, here are children that have maybe suffered from deficiencies in a manner that is similar to what I have lived myself, I will try to treat them from this hypothesis, meaning by separating them from their parents. 19 49


19 50 GL : There was absolutely no tie. Mothers who have them, so few ties, even during pregnancy, and after, there is absolutely no tie, and the child is abandonned, on can even wonder how he has been conceived, but the fact is that they were conceived. It is totally empty, pregnancy is only organic, the child does not exist as a person. He is totally in the relational emptiness. And this gives what Bruno Bettelheim, yes, of course. 20 16


20 16 YB : No, No, Bruno Bettelheim has said much more than that. This is the caricature. I do not say this for you but for those who, … well… it is not only about mothers, it is also about the father’s place in the mother’s desire. And it is about a certain amount of data, not only those with which the child is born, and the link that has been created or the desires of death that such mother could have had for this new born child, but all the mothers who have desires of death for their child, all these desires will not necessarily make their child psychotic ! 21 05

Subtitle :
Kleinian Psychoanalyst


Transition in pictures.



21 34 Comment : at the end of the 60s, psychoanalysis is starting to decline everywhere in the world, but it takes a phenomenal success in France, with the impulsion of an ambitious and charismatic psychiatrist. For Jacques Lacan, psychotic and autistic children are victims of the alienation by a psychogenic mother, a woman who refuses to stop her pregnancy because she is unable to split from a child who is a substitute for a penis that she has not received when she was born. 21 57

Subtitle :
Psychiatrist - Psychoanalyst


21 58 YB : At the beginning, the child thinks that he is his mother’s phallus, namely that he is this object that would give everything, fill his mother with joy, make her have orgasm. 22 08


22 08 SR : therefore, autism is maternal fusion ?

GL : Wait, there are a lot of theories, right ? To me, I have either fusion or total abandon and emptiness. It’s one or the other. The 2 poles. It’s not the same. But when they are totally in emptiness, but what I deal with here at the practice, is rather fusion. For total abandons, I do not see them, they go to institutions. 22 30

SR : Bruno Bettelheim says that autists are victims of mothers that are too cold, and on the other side, we have Jacques Lacan who theorizes psychosis and autism as maternal fusion, through some sort of a relationship that is almost incestuous between the mother and the child ?

GL : YES ! yes, yes. absolutely.

SR : So, on the other side, we have a mother that is too warm ?

GL : yes, too warm or too cold is not good, it takes a mother, as Winnicott says, good enough, neither too good too warm, neither totally empty, of course. If there is nothing, no relationship, it will not give anything good.

Subtitle :
DR Geneviève Loison
Lacanian psychoanalyst
Primary Child psychiatrist, Lille

SR : how can you explain that two attitudes, two totally opposed behaviours, could yield the same result ?

GL : these are different mechanisms, it is our job to put things back in the middle. 23 08


23 09 Comment : The English analyst paediatrician Donald Winnicott is the author of the concept of « good-enough mother » according to which a mother who wants to do too well is toxic for her child. He claims that motherhood would take mothers and infants through a transitional madness stage, prototype of forthcoming psychic disorders.

INSERT GENEVIEVE LOISON : Unconsciously, here is what you’re doing to me, in your legs !

Comment: With Winnicott, we have come full circle : motherhood is psychogenic by nature. 23 38


23 44 SR : do you agree with the idea of maternal madness ? That every woman, every mother goes through the first months after delivery, a stage of madness that can later be problematic for the infant if it lasts ?

AS : Yes, yes, but this name maternal madness does not disturb me at all.

SR : You are a psychiatrist, madness is definitely something with a negative meaning, isn’t it ?

AS : Not for me. 24 06


24 08 LDB : There is this idea that is usually called the maternal madness of the first times, namely, say, there is a moment when the mother is so glad to have her brat that she is one with the brat and there is no way anyone could intervene.

SR : why call this madness, by the way ?

LDB : Because of this idea of some sort of wholeness that gives some kind of powerful might, there is this idea that, starting when you have done such a thing, you are allmighty, nothing can reach you, etc, etc. 24 41

Subtitle :
Linguist MoDyCo CNRS-Psychoanalyst SPP
Centre Albert Binet, Paris


24 42 GL : You know, madness, it’s the first month of life. But the things is, we have all been mad, or almost …

SR : Why call this instinct, this relationship, this capacity for the mother to decrypt and understand her child’s behaviour, without language, why call this madness ?

GL : because if we stopped there, the child would go into madness, madness is precisely what you were asking earlier about autism, they stopped there. 25 10


25 11 LDB : Maternal madness, is maternal madness a major roadblock to the emergence of language ? Said like that, of course yes ! 25 17


25 18 AN : The mother is on the side of nature, and from this standpoint, she is animal, if you want, whereas the father was the one who founded culture. This is what made Claude Lévi Strauss say this superb definition when he speaks about the couple, he says that it is the dramatic union of nature and culture. You see ? When law supports culture, claiming that there something fatherly, it means we are in the culture, return to nature shall not happen. 25 50


25 57 Sandrine : We had refused having him do some group psychotherapy, and so they put him in individual psychotherapy, so we had not specified that we were against both of them. And then, we got this report, regarding the intervention on Guillaume, and wow, we were shattered. It was totally crazy things, sexual phobia, that he was liquefying, hallucinating words, and it sort of scared us. So we met with the psychotherapist and we stopped that. It’s roughly like she had put Guillaume in a text of Lacan. It’s so scary.

Stéphane : and this did not look like Guillaume ; I mean, regarding the mirror, he was alledgedly afraid of his image in the mirror, whereas in everyday life, he would pass by the mirror without any problem. I think that he must have played. He had a stereotypy, he laid on the ground and pretended he was a leaf. So she made up this bullshit : soft body on a hard ground …

Sandrine : yeah, put his all soft thing on the all hard thing. Frankly … ! 27 06

27 07 Comment : Too cold mother, too warm mother, too good mother, or not enough, mortifere mother, fusioning mother, mother who is toxic by nature…

Guillaume : Beware, there is going to be some noise ! I’m warning you now !

Sabrina : big hug to his mom. He heard some noise, he is scared.

Sandrine : is he scared ?

Sabrina : I think so, right Juju ? You heard a big noise ?

Comment : There was one last step to do, though : in the course of my interviews, several psychoanalysts had asserted that autism was the consequence of a maternal incest. 27 36


27 35 AS : The paternal function consists in intervening in two ways. On one hand saying no to the fusion between the mother and the child, the father is the one forbids the mother.

SR : who forbids sexually ? Right ?

AS : who forbids the pleasure of the mother, namely, with this ambiguity, who forbids that the child takes pleasure exclusively with his mother as well as the mother takes pleasure exclusively with the child. 28 01


28 02 JS : At the child’s birth, there is a honeymoon, right ? Sometimes, it is not so much of a honeymoon, it

can be dramatic, but there is a honeymoon, there is a fusion, there is an extraordinary, … well, at the same time, there is a huge pleasure together. The baby very quickly, well, there is what we can say, but, there is not sex difference but there is a big erotic pleasure taken together. 28 29

Subtitle :
Psychoanalyst – SPP
Training teacher in psychoanalyst


28 30 SR : The fact that a mother takes care of her child like a human being and considers her child like a human being, this is not sexual.

YB : well yes it is. Sexuality, in a first place, is not in the sense that adults take it, as genital sexuality. It is everything that, to Freud, because he is the one who theorized this, will be the body’s parts that will give pleasure to the child. So the child and mother bodies are there in a tight unison, and even the infant child does not know that he is apart from his mother’s body. He think they are one. Well, he thinks…, we attribute this to him, … he thinks he is one with his mother. So, it is a work of separating the bodies, and the pleasure that the child will get in his relationship with the other, who is first his mother, will happen 1) in a clinch and 2) the pleasure will be related to the different orifices of the body. 29 34


29 34 LDB : There are psychoanalysts who, a long time ago, have talked about something they called the lover’s censorship. This means something very simple, it means that the mother is changing the infant, and that all of a sudden, she takes too much pleasure by touching the infant, and she feels, oh la la, this is strange, it is not logical, I am not treating him like …

SR : an incestuous thing ?

LDB : something a little incestuous, what’s going on ? Well she will think of the man with whom she conceived him, in other words her lover, and therefore, this will create a distance between herself and the infant, this is what we call the lover censorship.

SR : she has to have a man on her mind for her not to be in an incestuous relationship with her child ?

LDB : It’s not « she has to », one cannot avoid it ! 30 28


30 29 JS : During maternal care, the mother can very well arouse the penis of a little boy, I mean, maternal care, and the little boys do not avoid this, we see many little boys who, when they get changed, when they get washed by the mother, well, the little penis reacts. 30 45


30 45 YB : The father is there to forbid and at the same time protect the child. That is, to protect the child from the incestuous desire of the mother.

SR : do you think that all mothers have incestuous desires towards their child ?

YB : Oh yes, whether they are aware of it or not ! Yes

SR : Why are you so sure ?

YB : Well, first from psychoanalytic writings, I mean, desire is not forbidden, its fulfilment is.

SR : But, that the love of a mother for her child is an incestuous desire, this is ….

YB : well yes, because she already has some trouble to separate from her child, there is a unity that gets done only if the father of the child, or the one in charge of this, who is not necessarily the genitor, does not come and tell the mother that enjoyment has to happen between them, does not remind his desire to the mother, and the pleasure that she will be able to have throuth the desire that ties them together, the mother will have pleasure by caressing her child, by having him on her body all day, what else, she will have pleasure … and, back to your previous question, this is how the body is well present, and that sexuality, insofar it is related to body pleasure, and that is reused in language, is naturally present in the questions of psychoanalysts. 32 20

Comment : Then, why are most of the incests perpetrated by men ? 32 25


32 26 AN : first we have to notice that father-daughter incest is infinitely more frequent than mother-son incest. And why are there none, or no more mother-son incests ? For a very simple reason, which is that the motherly attitude to children, whether they are boys or girls, is spontaneously an attitude of incestuous essence. Every mother’s dream is that her child does not lack anything, the motherly tendency towards the child is an incestuous tendency, so there is no need to act. In her attitude, there is already enough, she does not act. 33 07

Subtitle :
Paediatrician – analyst - essayist


33 08 JS : Paternal incest does not cause so much damage. It makes the girls a little moronic, but maternal incest creates psychosis. That is, madness. There cannot be a maternal incest, between a boy and his mother, without an enormous mental disorder, it is not possible. Precisely because of this barrier, but the daughter with the father, she did not come out of the father, right, she has not been in the father’s belly ; so there is something, you see, I’d say it is a secondary incest. Whereas the primary incest, the real one, it is the mother. It is to penetrate the mother. And boys who penetrate their mother are psychotic. Whereas the daughter is not. The girls can, we have many experiences with daughters with a paternal incest, they can manage somehow. Now, I can’t say that it works very very well. Some of them are very very bad, some a little less so, and there are those who manage by, … some other way. What I was saying, a little moronic. But it is ,… very different. 34 10


34 14 Comment : To psychoanalysts, the father is guilty too : guilty of being absent or transparent, guilty of being submissive to his wife, guilty of having been unable to intervene between the child and the maternal ogre. 34 44


34 47 GL : He failed ! Often, do you know how many times we see fathers who would have liked to, and this what we call forclusion. Forclusion of the father’s name.

SR : What does it mean ?

GL : Good question ! It means that the father, in simple terms, has made the child but that he does not exist, it is denied, his existence is denied.

SR : Does the mother deny his existence ?

GL : Denies his function, his existence, there is only her and the child who count, the father does not exist. Maybe he is there to bring some money in, he is here like an extra. He does not have the function of the husband, loved, considered, in his speech. When the mother considers the father’s speech, the child discovers speech.

SR : If the child does not speak, is it because the mother discredits the father’s word ?

GL : Well, there are not so many here, it is mostly in institutions, in psychiatric clinics, where I had severe autists. 35 40


35 40 ES : Fundamentally, the father’s function is symbolic. And sometimes the real father does not carry this symbolic function. He can be adorable and nice, but nevertheless, the child faces a symbolic deficiency on the side of the paternal function. 36 03

Subtitle :
Psychoanalyst – ECF
Clinician psychologist


36 04 GL : Either he does not have room, or he only exists through violence, or he is violent himself. We sometimes realize that he is violent to exist, and that he pries doors open, in a way, when no one opens them for him! 36 20


36 22 ES : When one speak about the paternal function, it is about something that drives you in your life, it is like a highway, a compass.

SR : Why wouldn’t the mother, as a woman, provide the child this basis ? Even on her own ?

ES : There are some mothers who can transmit a paternal function.

SR : But why isn’t it a maternal function ? Why isn’t it a maternal symbolic ? Why give it a gender ?

ES : The law of the mother is the law of whim. 36 55


36 58 AN : In 1984, a biologist established this extraordinary proof that placenta is from exclusive paternal origin, so that it is under the control of genes brought by the spermatozoon. In other words, the placenta is what prevents the mother from destroying her child and a child from killing his mother.

SR : What enables the mother to feed her child.

AN : Yes, that allows, that transfers and filters all the food the mother brings him, in other words, it is a regulating element between them, this placenta it is an interposition. I mean it feels like the father’s attitude within the decisions he takes, this patriarchy that he sets up, this male domination, …etc, has always been the empirical search of the function that the placenta holds, and that lets every child come into the world without being destroyed. 38 06


38 06 Sandrine : When he was younger, since he had been diagnosed with autism, severe autism, we thought of taking him to an IME. The IME at Avranches that has a good reputation for autism, and, as time went, he no longer went there because everything was going very well at school. He developed well, language improved very well, he has great skills, in math among others. And now, you see, he is in 7th grade.

SR : Is he attending to school full time ?

Sandrine : full time, regular 7th grade, with some difficulties, of course. There is a school aide with him in the class, but altogether it goes on very well, and moreover you have great marks !

Guillaume : Yes.

Sandrine and Stéphane : Yeah !

Sandrine : what makes him different from other students is recess. During recess, he sometimes does stereotypies, he sometimes plays games that teenages no longer play, he pushes them or screams, he does … he likes Mario kart a lot, so he does Mario kart in the playground, so the other children are somewhat … but they have been informed, the junior high school staff was great, Guillaume is well known from the other children.

G : Are the animals scared  ?

Sandrine : and they have given a heads up to the other studends in his class, so it goes on well.

SR : What is your favorite subject ?

G : Maths.

SR : Why do you like maths ?

G : Because it is easy. 39 31


39 31 Comment : Since Bruno Bettelheim, the major psychoanalytic principle for the treatment of autists consists in separate children from their parents. Parents are sometimes subjet to pressure to undergo therapy because they are considered the source of the problem.

Today still, in France and Belgium, a number of psychiatric institutions psychiatriques are places that are not accessible to families, who are not informed of what goes on. What does the psychoanalytic treatment of autistic children consists in ? 39 55


39 56 ES : Let’s say that when we receive an autistic child, we practice a psychoanalysis that is pure invention. We are facing a subject who, most of the time, cannot speak. 40 12


40 13LDB: I am rather like in an observation attitude. I mean, with an autistic child, I do very little. What

does very little mean ? That I sit my butt down close to him, and I wait for something to happen. And I forget, I try to forget everything. I forget time, I forget that we are pressed by time for him to acquire language, I forget everything. Because I tell myself that, since I am in this kind of weightlessness, there could well happen something that I can not foresee. 40 57

Subtitle :
Linguiste MODYCO CNRS – Psychanalyste SPP
Centre Alfred Binet, Paris


40 57 AS : You have authors like Tustin or Magaret Mahler who explain how it is first about winning over the child. Here we are in a practice, but it is the same in an institution. Winning over the child, I do not remember which of them describes this, it is about stepping a little back, not in his line of sight, not speaking too loud, rather following what he says than anticipating it. 41 25

Subtitle :

Psychoanalyst ECF
Lead psychiatrist of the Institution for children « le Courtil », Tournai


41 25 ES : No willingness of control, no educative willingness, no compelling of anything. 41 34


41 35 BG : we finally try by all means to make the autistic child feel that another one exists, who is not threatening. 41 42


41 43 ES : It is precisely about taking into account the most insignificant details, et figure out that this insignificant detail can be interpreted with some meaning, and bit by bit we can proceed by supposing that there is a sign, and we take it as something like the intent of a speech. 42 22


42 23 LDB: Personally, if the kid does not do anything during the session, if I drowse beside him, I don’t care. I am used to that in my work as a psychoanalyst. But this implies a few things. 1) it implies not getting bored when we think with our own ideas. 2) it implies rowing against this whole social thing that pushes you to be pressed by time, it is all very nice but if nevertheless, if the child is still like that in ten years, it’s not on you to, … etc. All this is true, I stay in the position of a psychoanalyst, which means having no memory, no expectation, and starting from then, something happens, and that is an attitude, I believe, that is a deeply psychoanalytic attitude. 43 19


43 20 BG : When…. Perhaps… Well..

BG : I am sensitive to what you tell me, that the audience should feel that we accept to fully endorse our convictions.

SR : Well, yes

BG : …………43 44

Subtitle :
Psychoanalyst – APF

Child Psychiatry Departement lead - Hôpital Necker, Paris


43 47 LDB : If you sing a little song, and that the autistic child doesn’t feel bad with it, there is something happening. So, you’re going to tell me, there is no need of a psychoanalyst for that. Yes, if you are not using it as an educative method. Yes, if you think that after all I don’t care about what the child will do with it, it seems like he seems interested, we do that and we’ll see what happens then. Or we won’t see then. The fundamental point in my attitude as a psychoanalyst with respect to these children, it is to abdicate the idea of a progress. And this is not easy, you can believe me… My analytic ideal demands to abandon this dimension, but it turns out that I belong to a society in which I am paid to give care. Consequently, I am in a conflict, but this, a situation of conflict, an analyst must be able to endure it or he takes another job, because this is the basis of our analytic practise. 44 46


46 47SR : what is the impact of psychoanalysis on autistic children ? What can an autistic child reasonably expect in terms of result ?

PD : But I can’t answer this, this it is not a matter for a psychoanalyst ! 44 57

Subtitle :
Head of pedopsychiatry department, CHU of Lille


44 57 SR : What can an autistic child reasonably expect from an analytic work ? in terms of results ?

LDB : The pleasure of taking interest in a soap bubble. I can’t answer anything else … 45 33


46 04 Comment : Nevertheless, there are solutions: they are called PECS, TEACCH and ABA. These educative and behavioral methods have been set up in the USA, more than thirty years ago, to enable people with autism to communicate, open up to the world. Thanks to these tools that are appropriate to their handicap, young autists make, in a a few months, significant progress. Unfortunately, psychoanalysts fiercely stand in the way of their establishment in France. 46 26


46 42 AS : In the French speaking world, the invasion by cognitivo-behavioral techniques is a new invasion. Recent, but very present today, psychoanalysis fights against this invasion. A number of colleagues, in particular Jacques Alain Miller, have taken the lead of this struggle, this fight, others too in others organizations. It is a very important fight to keep alive the dimension of subjectivity, of the singularities of each subject with respect to this behavioral idea of managing by squares. 47 25


47 25 EL : You know, it is for psychoanalysis to be this device of disenchantment. There are hopes that come from biology, it could be marvelous to believe in them. If one can believe that tomorrow, tomorrow we will have the solutions ! Well, psychoanalysis, as a speech that illuminates all beliefs, tries to enable humanity to live without believing too big whims, it’s part of our effort. So, the dialog with neurosciences, is not only to inform ourselves of the results and let know that it does not alter our fundamental practice, the orientation of our practice, it is also about trying to make humanity live without having too big hopes in the various good news that are published everyday, that are intended to keep a rate of good news in an environment that has so little. 48 27

Subtitle :
Psychoanalyst – ECF
Training teacher in psychoanalysis


48 35 Comment : In the 80’s, 100% of the French psychiatrists and psychologists were trained in psychoanalysis. Since the 90’s this trend is declining, but they are still near 80% today … This situation, unique in the world, except Argentina, has tremendous consequences in the care of handicapped. 48 56


49 10 Comment : At the age of 4, Guillaume was diagnosed with severe autism. His psychiatrist has refused to apply communication methods that are appropriate for autists with him, and advised against him attending to school . But his parents stood firm. Thanks to their tenacity, and their meeting with a marvelous education team, Guillaume now follows a regular school curriculum. He is an excellent student… 49 30


49 34 Comment : Due to the lack of available places in an center for his handicap, Julien has spent his childhood in a psychiatric clinic. At 14, he is totally dependent, for each everyday activity. Today, Julien attends to a center for children that takes very good care of him, but only a specific education, adapted to the behavior of autistic children, would enable him to become continent, less dependent and maybe even learn to speak. In France, specialized educators are rare, therefore expensive, out of reach for her mother’s budget. 50 04


50 18 Comment : we estimate between 430 000 and 600 000 the number of people with autism in France. 50 23


Ecrit et réalisé par           

Produit par                       
Océan Invisible Productions

Musique originale          

Nicolas BITAUD
Peterson ALMEIDA

Peterson ALMEIDA
Jonathan RIO

Laurent RODIER

Location de matériel

Avec la participation de

Sabrina CAVRET
Sandrine GUY
Stéphane MOERIS
Guillaume MOERIS
Gabriel MOERIS

Et par ordre alphabétique
Bernard GOLSE
Geneviève LOISON
Jacqueline SCHAEFFER
Esthela SOLANO
Alexandre STEVENS

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