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Beebe, B. Rustin, J. Sorter, D. Knoblauch, S. (2003). An Expanded View of Intersubjectivity in Infancy and its Application to Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Dial., 13(6):805-841.

(2003). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 13(6):805-841

An Expanded View of Intersubjectivity in Infancy and its Application to Psychoanalysis

Beatrice Beebe, Ph.D., Judith Rustin, M.S.W., Dorienne Sorter, Ph.D. and Steven Knoblauch, Ph.D.

We consider the relevance of forms of intersubjectivity in infancy to the nonverbal and implicit dimension of intersubjectivity in psychoanalysis. The term forms of intersubjectivity, within the adult explicit and implicit modes and the infant presymbolic implicit mode, is offered to clarify the multiple meanings of intersubjectivity. The ideas of infant intersubjectivity of Meltzoff, Trevarthen, and Stern that have particular relevance for psychoanalysis are highlighted: the dialogic origin of mind, the role of correspondences, and the idea that symbolic

forms of intersubjectivity are built on presymbolic forms. We build on their work to define a fourth position: that the full range of patterns of interactive regulation provides the broadest definition of the presymbolic origins of intersubjectivity, with correspondence being only one of many critical patterns. We additionally address the place of interactive regulation, problems with the concept of matching, the role of self-regulation, the role of difference, and the “balance model” of self- and interactive regulation. We take the position that all forms of interactive regulation are relevant to the possibility of perceiving and aligning oneself with the moment-by-moment process of the other. A broadened understanding of intersubjectivity in infancy sets the stage for a more fruitful exchange between infant researchers and psychoanalysts.

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