There are various contradictory theoretical frameworks that can be employed to enrich qualitative research. These are also important resources for us in this article, and we will be emphasizing the strategic uses of theory to bring about political effects in research. We outline conceptual strategies for engaging with, and transcending the historical influence of, psychoanalysis in qualitative social science research. We aim to show pathways by which the researcher might tackle psychoanalysis in a more effective way than is accomplished by the standard ‘defensive’ procedures used to ward off psychoanalytic ideas. In this way, through the sublation of psychoanalytic categories, we show the way towards a form of ‘anti-psychoanalysis’.