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Schellekes, A. (2017). When Time Stood Still: Thoughts about Time in Primitive Mental States. Brit. J. Psychother., 33(3):328-345.

(2017). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 33(3):328-345

Clinical and Theoretical Practice

When Time Stood Still: Thoughts about Time in Primitive Mental States

Alina Schellekes

Deciphering the way patients experience time provides an additional key to primitive mental areas which do not express themselves in the usual verbal or symbolic ways and can help us and our patients better understand these deep layers of the psyche. It is when the issue of time moves to the centre of experience as a separate and predominant aspect of existence, that there and then occurs a disturbance in our continuous and natural transition between various temporalities, one that often exposes an inner rupture, many times of a very early origin. The paper first focuses on a number of art works which portray attempts to deal with death anxiety by capturing the moment, or watching, controlling, organizing, cataloguing the movement of time as though such attempts could freeze time and make it endlessly prolongued. Second, theoretical aspects and clinical vignettes focus on understanding the experience of time as fractured and fragmented; on experiences of timelessness, and, on stereotypical, ritualistic, autistic-like relations to time, perceived as frozen still. In addition, conceptualizing the analyst/writer's experience of time in the presence of her patients provided a unique tool for expanding the understanding of the patients' internal world.

[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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