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Gentile, J. (2008). Between Private and Public: Towards a Conception of the Transitional Subject. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 89(5):959-976.

(2008). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 89(5):959-976

Between Private and Public: Towards a Conception of the Transitional Subject

Jill Gentile

(Final version accepted 16 April 2008)

Elaborating upon Winnicott's seminal contributions on the transitional object, the author proposes a conception of a transitional subject in which the patient comes into being simultaneously between private and public, subjective creation and material life, me and not-me. By anchoring subjective creation in the real world (including the body), the patient creates a basis for authentic psychesoma as well as for both personal and symbolic contributions to the world beyond omnipotence, including the world of other subjects. In this sense, intersubjective life is seen as predicated upon transitionality, with the patient seen as simultaneously coming into being as a distinctly personal subject and, in part, as a symbol. Clinical phenomenology is described and is interpreted with respect to the need within psychoanalysis itself for a third, and for a realm of meaning-creation that lies beyond privacy, omnipotence, and the dyad.

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