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Hartocollis, P. (1976). On the Experience of Time and its Dynamics, with Special Reference to Affects. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 24:363-375.

(1976). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 24:363-375

On the Experience of Time and its Dynamics, with Special Reference to Affects

Peter Hartocollis, M.D.


The experience of time can be conceptualized in two alternate ways: as duration—the experience of time as something moving; and as perspective or tense—future, past, or present. Whether time as duration is experienced or not, and how, depends on a person's ability to be in tune with his affects or to experience affects at all. The experience of time as unusually slow or fast is a function of the strength of one's instinctual wishes and reflects defensive operations against such wishes as well as the integrity of the self and its ties with the world of internal objects. Likewise, the notion of time as perspective or

tense, constituting an inherent dimension of affects, reflects the state of adequacy or inadequacy of the self and can be manipulated for defensive purposes.

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