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Birksted-Breen, D. (2012). Taking Time: The Tempo of Psychoanalysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 93(4):819-835.

(2012). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 93(4):819-835

Psychoanalytic Theory and Technique

Taking Time: The Tempo of Psychoanalysis Language Translation

Dana Birksted-Breen

(Final version accepted 31 January 2012)

In this article the author argues that in order to be psychoanalysis, the ‘here and now’ technical approach needs to be firmly grounded theoretically and technically in a practice that includes the notion of reverie or its equivalent. The author has argued previously that the analyst's theory is the essential ‘third’ of the two-person analytic situation. She now suggests that it is specifically the theories of temporality and the attitude of ‘evenly suspended attention’ or its more contemporary development, ‘reverie’, that are the crucial aspects of that theory. She refers to these essential aspects as the ‘theory in practice’ in so far as they are more than a technical approach or a theory of practice but reflect directly a particular analyst's internalisation of the whole psychoanalytic theoretical corpus. While she believes this to be an essential component in any true psychoanalysis, in developing her argument the author looks at situations in which the analyst is particularly prone to forgo this temporal aspect, as is the case when patients show an absence of symbolic thinking within the analytic situation. In fact, with those patients reverie and the visual images it produces within the analyst's mind offer perhaps the only hope of a meeting ground between the concrete and the symbolic and the possibility of avoiding an impasse. Impasse, she suggests, has at its root the absence of reverie as a third and temporal element, inevitably giving rise to concrete thinking on the part of patient and analyst and so to a situation that cannot evolve.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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