#196 – Exploring Lacanian Psychoanalysis with Raul Moncayo

photo of Dr. Raul Moncayo


Raul Moncayo, Ph.D. is author of the recent book, Evolving Lacanian Perspectives for Clinical Psychoanalysis. He is also training director for Mission Mental Health, San Francisco under the Department of Public Health. He is a member of the Research Faculty at Alliant University (formerly The California School of Professional Psychology] and a Training Analyst at the Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis in Berkeley, California. He also has a private practice in which he provides Psychoanalytic psychotherapy, consultation, and supervision.

Dr. Moncayo was born in Chile to an American mother and a Chilean Father. He was first introduced to Psychology and Psychoanalysis while attending university in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a city known for being a world center of psychoanalysis. After graduating university, he worked in Geneva for the United Nations, and then studied with the renown psychiatrist R.D. Laing in London before ultimately relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area where he begin working as a therapist doing group psychotherapy with Schizophrenic patients on an inpatient unit. Subsequently, he did graduate work at the psychoanalytically inclined Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA. He has continued to live and work in the San Francisco area, and presently works for the Mission Mental Health public health clinic in that city.

Dr. Moncayo laments the current American approach to treating psychiatric illnesses, and the dismissal of the psychoanalytic psychotherapy approach by the American medical and psychotherapy communities. He notes that while psychoanalysis is still alive and well within university humanities departments where it has become an important part of literary analysis, it is in dramatic decline as a therapy modality. Psychiatrists are not taught about the great psychoanalytic psychiatrists of the past, but instead learn only medicine and biology, and are encouraged to reduce mental disorders to simple brain disorders. In the process, the human aspects of these disorders are ignored and marginalized.

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A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.



  1. Kevin Croswell
    Posted February 27, 2009 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Interesting interview. I want to say thank you for keeping psychoanalytic theory and practice a part of mainstream. I am a firm believer each system can have much to offer and Lacanian theory appears no different. Keep up the good work and keep booking diverse experts in the field.

  2. Dioni Miranda
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Dave,

    I can’t say enough good things about your willingness to begin (and continue) your conversations with Raul Moncayo. I really enjoyed that second interview! I’ve gone back to your original interview several times and listened to it VERY SLOWLY with some supplementary readings, and it’s helped clarify some previous confusions I’ve had. I don’t know if Bruce Fink would be willing to do an interview, but it wouldn’t hurt giving him a try – and that book of his you mentioned is still the clearest introduction to Lacan that I know of. It’s kind of interesting that the sound bite you chose for the preview of your last interview (at 0:50) is precisely the point with which Dr. Fink begins his book! Anyway, in an ideal world of mine your chats with Dr. Moncayo will continue! I hope this email finds you well.

    Thanks again,

  3. Russ
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Dr. Dave,

    Another great interview. While the Wise Counsel interview with Dr. Moncayo was incredibly dense and hard to access for the non-professional, both you and Dr. Moncayo did such a wonderful job of making this topic more available to the lay person in this talk.

    Dr. Moncayo’s ideas about unconscious fantasy, the importance and “subjective truth” of clinical symptoms, unconscious pleasure derived from pain, and the fact that it can be very difficult to “uproot” the thoughts below the pre-conscious thoughts that CBT might deal with all make more and more sense upon subsequent listenings.

    If you ever interview Dr. Moncayo again, I would love for him to discuss the role of unconscious fantasy in a little more depth. This is something I’d love to learn more about.

    Keep up the great work.

  4. bill
    Posted March 23, 2011 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Fantastic interview. I would love to hear an interview with Dr. Fink….More More More!

  5. Posted March 23, 2011 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this suggestion, Bill. I have approached Dr. Fink in the past for an interview but, unfortunately, he turned me down.


  6. Russ
    Posted September 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Just listened to this interview again. I love it! I’d love to hear another interview with Raul where he discusses the unconscious in greater depth, and how unconscious conflicts emerge as conscious symptoms.

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