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Spero, M.H. (2011). Where “Objects” and “Spaces” Are, There Relating-Through-Absence Ought to Be: Commentary on Papers by Joyce Slochower and by Laura Impert and Margaret Rubin. Psychoanal. Dial., 21(6):719-730.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 21(6):719-730

Where “Objects” and “Spaces” Are, There Relating-Through-Absence Ought to Be: Commentary on Papers by Joyce Slochower and by Laura Impert and Margaret Rubin

Moshe Halevi Spero, Ph.D.

This is a commentary on Joyce Slochower (this issue) and Laura Impert and Margaret Rubin (this issue), who study how psychoanalysts struggle with progressive and regressive dynamics of mourning, remembering, and nostalgia. They offer new ideas about the creation of “memorial spaces” in order to challenge the classical conception that, ideally, mourning ought to be final at some point, and to enhance our clinical facility with “sensual objects of nostalgia” qua evocative phenomena that can help thaw frozen mourning. In the effort to carve out more time and place for the mourner who has lost historical time and place, the authors refer excessively to terms like space (“memory spaces”) and object (nostalgia-based “evocative objects”). While these terms are common coin in contemporary psychoanalysis, the overemphasis on localized, almost concrete “spaces” and “objects” is inconsistent with the intent to describe mental developments taking place at very high levels of symbolization and memorialization. Finally, important elements of the authors' clinical material are highlighted that can be further mined in order to reveal deeper psychosexual dimensions of the transference and countertransference, and to expose existential aspects of why and how we write as psychoanalysts.

[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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