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Renata Volich Eisenbruch

A practicing psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist, the author offers a psychoanalytical perspective on psychic illness within a contrastive framework of twentieth-century Western psychiatric and psycho- analytic outlooks on mental health. Drawing on Jaspers's exemplary discussion of the differences between psychiatric and phenomenological-interpretative approaches to psychopathology, the author applies it to her exegesis of the Lacanian conceptions of the human unconscious, the dynamics of symptom formation, as well as the significance of mental malady for understanding the structure of the human subject. As different forms of psychopathology express themselves in social phenomena, the author advocates a wider application of psychoanalytic ethnography or applied psychoanalysis to help subjects deal with natural disasters, personal crises, and everyday life. Taking into account the adversities that affect individuals and societies and the diversity of contexts, the dynamic process of applied psychoanalysis can make contributions toward achieving vital understanding.