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Crastnopol, M. (2002). The Dwelling Places of Self-Experience. Psychoanal. Dial., 12(2):259-284.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 12(2):259-284

The Dwelling Places of Self-Experience

Margaret Crastnopol, Ph.D.

Instead of dichotomizing psychic life as either intrapsychic or interpersonal, I suggest we think in terms of a continuum of self-experience from the most private or interior to the most public or exterior. I articulate four “domains”—phenomenologic, intrapersonal, interpsychic, and interpersonal—that constitute this spectrum of self-experience. Each domain lends a specific quality to one's internal life, and together (but in varying proportions) they constitute the psychic dwelling place unique to a given individual. This article illustrates how the variability among our patients in their habitual dwelling places may explain their diverse responses to differing analytic stances, interpretive approaches, and indeed, different analysts. A clinician's awareness of his or her own personal proclivity toward a more interior or more exterior orientation helps promote optimal contact with the patient's psychic life.

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