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Covington, C. (1992). SCHWARTZ-SALANT, N. and STEIN, M. (eds). Liminality and Transitional Phenomena (Chiron Clinical series). Wilmette, Illinois, Chiron, 1991. Pp. 199. Pbk $15.95.. J. Anal. Psychol., 37(4):488-491.
(1992). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 37(4):488-491
SCHWARTZ-SALANT, N. and STEIN, M. (eds). Liminality and Transitional Phenomena (Chiron Clinical series). Wilmette, Illinois, Chiron, 1991. Pp. 199. Pbk $15.95.
Review by: Coline Covington
As its title indicates, this collection of essays explores different aspects of liminality and transitional phenomena in the analytic process. Analysis itself is viewed as a ritual process which requires a particular framework and conditions within which to operate effectively (i.e., within which unconscious contents can become manifest and assimilated by the ego).
Robert Hopcke, in his essay on synchronicity, refers to ‘a space, a temenos, a magic circle, a vessel, in which the transformation inherent in the patient's condition would be allowed to take place’ (p. 117). He goes on to write:
Liminality, therefore, might even be called the very essence of effective analytic work, the goal of which is change and transformation. The derivation of the term is instructive in this regard, from the Latin limen or ‘threshold’. Just as change always involves a threshold experience of ‘moving from’ and ‘moving to’, which can be disorientating, exhilarating, or sometimes both at once, analytic work must provide and even at times create a place where, for a prolonged period of time, the patient can allow previous self-conceptions, persona masks, and ego directives to dissolve. (p. 117)
It is in this liminal space—which Jung refers to as the alchemical vessel or vas—that change can take place.
Robert Moore, drawing on the work of the anthropologist Victor Turner, makes the distinction between liminal and liminoid space.
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