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Stewart, H. (1985). Changes of Inner Space. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 66:255-264.

(1985). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 66:255-264

Changes of Inner Space

Harold Stewart

The origin of this paper was a remark made to me by a patient towards the latter part of her analysis. 'You know', she said, 'that the empty space I've always felt inside has changed. It's become a real space and feels so different'. From the beginning of her treatment, one of her main complaints had been of an empty space inside herself which she hated, at least as much as it was possible for her to feel hate, and compulsively tried to fill by eating and sexual promiscuity, neither of which gave anything other than a temporary respite to her emptiness. The change in her inner spatial experience was the herald of potential satisfaction and gratification and it is to the elaboration of this change, together with this potential, that I wish to address myself.

I was interested in my patient's statement and so I wanted to find out what other analysts had written about it. To my surprise there is very little written on the topic of inner space. The only paper specifically dealing with it is by J. Grotstein (1978), 'Inner Space: its dimensions and its coordinates', but it is mainly concerned with theoretical issues. Other than his, the only references are in Marion Milner's book, The Hands of the Living God(1969). There is, of course, a great deal written about external space, and there are many references to other forms of space, such as psychic space, potential space (Winnicott, 1971), dream space (Khan, 1974); Bion (1967) speaks of the container as a component of psychic space, and Grotstein in his paper also speaks of emotional space, rational space and transitional space.

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