Where is here? When is now?


  • Editor’s note: These two papers, Edna O’Shaughnessy, “Where is here? When is now?” and Betty Joseph, “Here and now: My perspective”, were invited papers for the UCL Psychoanalysis Unit Annual December Conference (12th December 2008–14th December 2008). The papers are part of a series entitled “Here and Now” (Aguayo, 2011; Blass, 2011; Busch, 2011).


With a Kleinian perspective influenced by Betty Joseph, the author describes the distinctive ‘here and now’ of a psychoanalysis as the place and the time of the patient’s inner subjective world as it emerges in the work of patient and analyst. This psychoanalytic ‘here’ and ‘now’ is examined with clinical material from the analysis of Mr X; first, with an account of the way his analysis begins and then through a detailed session five years later.The author identifies Mr X’s problems with place and time, and how these change over the course of the analysis. He moves from sequestered dyadic relationships towards an Oedipal and family space, and from disconnection and timelessness to acquiring a sense of duration, of being in the present with a past and a future – all of which, the paper aims to show, has implications for technique.