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Hämäläinen, O. (1999). Some considerations on the capacity to be alone. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 22(1):33-47.

(1999). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 22(1):33-47

Some considerations on the capacity to be alone

Olavi Hämäläinen Born 1947. Leg. psych. Private practicing psychoanalyst in Helsinki. Part-time psychotherapist in Students' Health Care. Co-ordinator, teacher and supervisor in psychotherapy training in the Foundation for Adolescent Psychotherapy. Member of the Finnish Psychoanalytical Society. Has published an article “Yksinäisyydestä” (“On solitude”) in a collection of psychoanalytic articles. Translations of psychoanalytic writings to Finnish.

The development of the capacity to be alone is discussed from a metapsychological point of view. Winnicott has described an early experience in the mother-child dyad, where an infant or small child is alone in the presence of the mother. This situation is seen here as an ideal circumstance for the child to rehearse and train her or his methods of psychic work, ways of binding the instinctual energy. The curriculum of the development of the capacity to be alone and the capacity to be together is presented. The difficulty of being alone is discussed. Psychoanalysis is seen as an opportunity to develop one's capacity to be alone, because it makes the autonomous development of ways of binding possible.

Being alone is hell,

managing it is heaven”

Poul Bjerre

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