With regard to other schools, the first thing that strikes the eye is the philosophical tenor of Lacan’s theory. For Lacan, psychoanalysis at its most fundamental is not a theory and technique of treating psychic disturbances, but a theory and practice which confronts individuals with the most radical dimension of human existence. It does not show an individual the way to accommodate him- or herself to the demands of social reality; it explains how something like “reality” constitutes itself in the first place. It does not merely enable a human being to accept the repressed truth about him – or herself; it explains how the dimension of truth emerges in human reality. In Lacan’s view, pathological formations like neuroses, psychoses and perversions, have the dignity of fundamental philosophical attitudes towards reality. When I suffer obsessional neurosis, this ‘illness’ colours my entire relationship to reality and defines the global structure of my personality. Lacan’s main critique of other psychoanalytic orientations concerns their clinical orientation: for Lacan, the goal of psychoanalytic treatment is not the patient’s well-being or successful social life or personal self-fulfilment, but to bring the patient to confront the elementary coordinates and deadlocks of his or her desire.
Slavoj Zizek, How to Read Lacan