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Kennedy, R. (2000). Becoming A Subject: Some Theoretical And Clinical Issues. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 81(5):875-892.

(2000). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 81(5):875-892

Becoming A Subject: Some Theoretical And Clinical Issues

Roger Kennedy

The author presents a cluster of theoretical and clinical thoughts and some clinical material concerned with the issue of subjectivity in psychoanalysis. For convenience, he has organised these thoughts around the notion of ‘becoming a subject’. This entails a process of recovery, or discovery, of unconscious subjective elements. There is a discussion of what we mean by the term ‘subject’, with reference to various strands of philosophical and psychoanalytical thinking. It is suggested that becoming a subject involves a shift towards a ‘subjective position. This refers to how being a subject involves some capacity to take up different positions without becoming fixed in any frozen state of being. In order to be fully in touch with another person, in a truly subjective position, one begins to grasp the other's point of view; the other is seen as other, as a person or a subject, in a context, orientated to others and being affected by others. A subjective position involves allowing experiences of the other to interpenetrate oneself, so that they make an impact. In order to clarify these ideas, clinical material from the analysis of a bulimic patient is presented to illustrate some of the difficulties for this patient in becoming a subject and allowing the analyst to make an impact on her.

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