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Meares, R. (2020). The Intimate Third: Toward a Theory of Coherence. Psychoanal. Dial., 30(1):1-18.

(2020). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 30(1):1-18

The Intimate Third: Toward a Theory of Coherence

Russell Meares, M.D.

The flow and cohesion of personal existing, the sense of self, is broken up by trauma. The survivor of repeated traumata is left with a deficiency of self involving a subtle disintegration of consciousness. This paper focuses on the way in which self may be fostered, building on the work of Robert Hobson. He proposed a relational means toward coherence of self. The relationship characteristic of traumatic consciousness must be transformed into the triadic relationship of “aloneness-togetherness.” Steps toward this condition resemble the emergence of self in childhood. Extracts from a therapeutic session illustrate this generative pathway. After an initial state of traumatic “adualism,” a conversation ensues which culminates in the emergence of self, the crucial forerunner of which is the creation of an “intimate third.” The third has a unifying function.

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