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Stein, R. (2007). Letters to The Editors: On: Analytic Impasse and The Third. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 88(1):238-239.

(2007). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 88(1):238-239

Letters to The Editors: On: Analytic Impasse and The Third Related Papers

Ruth Stein

Dear Sirs,

I wish to add another metaphor, taken from the work of Bion, to Aron (2006). This important article builds on Aron and Benjamin (1999) and attempts to address issues of impasse between analyst and analysand (and, implicitly, addressing post-Lacanian critiques of imaginary mirroring that lurks when working with intersubjective twoness). It also featured in the 9th online colloquium of the IARPP [internet] where it has spawned an extraordinarily generative and controversial discussion.

Interestingly, Bion's concept of ‘binocular vision’ is also about a ‘third’ produced out of two divergent viewpoints, a third that was hitherto unknown, and that is neither the first nor the second original positions. Such a marriage of two that produces a third can be found, as Sandler (2005) writes, in the formation of thought processes; the mother-baby relationship; the creative sexual couple; the perception of reality; the relationship between an artist and the media, and the psychoanalyst and the conscious/ unconscious material of the patient. One of the possible products of binocular vision is insight in an analytical session, the result of the meeting of analysand and analyst, or of the encounter of an individual with himor herself. Binocular vision is also necessary in relation to time and space, like keeping one eye in the present and another in the past or in the future.

With the difference from Aron, whose basic (metaphoric) paradigm is negotiative or mutually enactive-generative, Bion's (like Freud's) is predominantly ocular and visual. Bion uses for thinking the third the example of stereoscopic vision that creates a sensation of depth out of two or more two-dimensional images of the same object shown from different angles.

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