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Binder, P. (2009). Following Old Paths to New Places — Thirdness, Mentalization, and the Search for a Transformational Meeting. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 18(3):168-176.

(2009). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 18(3):168-176

Following Old Paths to New Places — Thirdness, Mentalization, and the Search for a Transformational Meeting

Per-Einar Binder, Ph.D.

Both parts of the therapeutic dyad are searching for ways of relating between them that are more flexible and that open up new possibilities for thought and feeling. When therapy succeeds, patients transcend old transference expectations and fears in a meeting with another subject, a meeting with qualities of something essentially new. Here, it is hypothesized that the patient in the transference unconsciously searches for a transformational meeting with another person. Through the interaction that is a result of this search, the patient moves between twoness and thirdness, and thereby enhances his or her mentalizing capacity. A transcript (of recorded material) from an intensive psychoanalytic therapy with a female patient in her early twenties is presented, analyzed, and discussed, focusing on how she made progress in her relational search during a session.

(Received 11 December 2007; accepted 12 February 2009)

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