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Benjamin, J. (2004). Beyond Doer and Done to: An Intersubjective View of Thirdness. Psychoanal Q., 73:5-46.

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(2004). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 73(1):5-46

Original Articles

Beyond Doer and Done to: An Intersubjective View of Thirdness

Jessica Benjamin, Ph.D.

Analytic work based on the intersubjective view of two participating subjectivities requires discipline rooted in an orientation to the structural conditions of thirdness. The author proposes a theory that includes an early form of thirdness involving union experiences and accommodation, called the one in the third, as well as later moral and symbolic forms of thirdness that introduce differentiation, the third in the one. Clinically, the concept of a co-created or shared intersubjective thirdness helps to elucidate the breakdown into the twoness of complementarity in impasses and enactments and suggests how recognition is restored through surrender.

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