Société Psychanalytique de Paris

Après-coup in psychoanalysis : the fulfilment of desire and thought

de Bernard Chervet, traduction d’Andrew Weller

This important book argues that après-coup, a concept that has blossomed in French psychoanalytic discourse, not only allows an understanding of how repressed early memories determine adult life, and how human sexuality develops, but also allows for a richer and wider explanation of our mental structures and thinking. The book outlines how après-coup has been understood and defined by Freud, Lacan and other authors, considers it in diverse psychoanalytic cultures and explores its resonance in dream-work, sexual drives, thought, and the experience of trauma. Bernard Chervet considers that the totality of human thought can be approached according to the theory of après-coup. It offers a metapsychological approach to the operation of après-coup, bodily erogeneity and the regeneration of libido. Chervet’s compelling work argues that the phenomenon of après-coup allowed for the development of the psychoanalytic theories of causality, sexuality, temporality, memory and trauma. Illustrated by clinical vignettes and written by one of the leading theorists on the topic, AprÆes-coup in Psychoanalysis will be an invaluable resource for psychoanalysts in training and in practice.


1. The emergence of desire and thought
2. Semantic and semiological vicissitudes of the term Nachträglichkeit
3. The work of Freud and his followers as a clinical illustration of the operation of après-coup
4. Evolving clinical situations
5. Metapsychological approach to the concept of après-coup
6. A theory of human thought
7. Saturation in dreams, sessions and sciences
8. Après-coup and bodily erogeneity
9. The missing trace and feelings of lack
10. The foundational murder and the superego

Bernard Chervet is a Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst of the Paris Psychoanalytic Society and a former SPP President. He is a European Representative on the IPA Board of Representatives and the IPA ExCom and Scientific Director of the Congress of French-Speaking Psychoanalysts (CPLF). His numerous and distinguished publications cover a wide range of clinical and theoretical psychoanalytic topics. He was awarded the Bouvet Prize in 2017 for his work.