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Rustad, A.K. (2001). No beginning, no end: The illusion of timelessness. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 24(2):112-122.

(2001). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 24(2):112-122

No beginning, no end: The illusion of timelessness

Anne Kristin Rustad

The author describes how an illusion of timelessness was manifested in the psychoanalytic process with a four and a half year old boy. This illusion turned out to serve as a protection against overwhelming death-anxiety and an intolerable experience of separateness. Development in the direction of a perception of time as linear appeared to be connected to the relinquishment of a two-dimensional, adhesive mode of identification, simultaneously with the development of a conception of three-dimensionality. This change seemed to be brought about by the introjection of the holding and boundary-shaping skin-function of the analyst, which implied the conception of a closed space, a container, and the realization of an essential third instance. The psychoanalytical process made explicit the paramount importance which the symbolic presence of the paternal function in the mother has for her capacity for holding and containment and as the premise for the infant's perception of reality, including the development of the dimensions of time and space.

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