Guattari's Therapeutics: From Transference to Transversality

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The concept of transversality extends across all of Guattari’s work, including that co-authored with Gilles Deleuze. While it is mobilized to indicate a non-unifying mode of connection, for example in Deleuze’s commentary on Proust, transversality is developed initially as a specifically pragmatic intervention in the context of institutional psychotherapy. Guattari’s experience at the Clinique de la Borde informs his account of transversality as a ‘modification of the conditions of acceptance’ of the individual within the group and the institution, which thus forms an experimental space within the social field. The concept is initially developed in relation to the psychoanalytic notion of transference, but as specific to the group and the institutional setting, in the context of the work of the Groupe de travail de psychothérapie et sociothérapie institutionelle, and in contributions by the group to the first issue of the Revue de psychothérapie instititionelle. Guattari’s account of transversality draws together the Sartrean notions of the subjected group (groupe assujetti) and the subject group (groupe sujet) and the Lacanian notions of full and empty speech to elaborate upon the ‘co-efficients of transversality’ at play within the institution. The transversal group is one in which the ‘non-sense’ of its own discourse, and of its own place within the social field, is captured in speech.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-235
Number of pages18
JournalDeleuze Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2023


  • Félix Guattari
  • Transference
  • Transversality


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