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Priel, B. (1997). Time and Self: On the Intersubjective Construction of Time. Psychoanal. Dial., 7(4):431-450.

(1997). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 7(4):431-450

Time and Self: On the Intersubjective Construction of Time Related Papers

Beatriz Priel, Ph.D.

This paper develops the idea that the human experience of time is not a creation of an isolated mind, but emerges within the earliest intersubjective experiences. Following Winnicott's main theoretical assumptions about the role of the environment and the processes of ego integration, the paper focuses on the sense and the concept of time as stemming from within a self-with-other context and constituting an emergent property of self-other differentiations. These processes are viewed also from the perspective of the dialogical character of early mother-infant interactions as evidenced by recent infant developmental research. The dialogical structure of these interactions includes important aspects of synchrony and accommodation, as well as asynchrony and transformations, which play a basic role in the emergence of self-differentiation. Moreover, the temporal characteristics of mother-infant exchanges constitute a basic vehicle through which interpersonal meanings unfold. The evolution of the sense of time is seen as a continuous process of construction of meaning in an intersubjective framework. Four basic aspects/phases of this evolution are proposed. These underscore basic features of the experience of time and self-object differentiation, including timelessness or a time of togetherness, the containment of absence or time of separation, narrative time related to the configuration and refiguration of a self in time, and the renunciation of immortality and the “use” of time.

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