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Keywords:

  • Betty Joseph;
  • common ground;
  • enactment;
  • Freud;
  • Freudian legacy;
  • Hanna Segal;
  • here and now;
  • Klein;
  • reconstruction;
  • unconscious truth

Psychoanalysis emphasizes that in discovering psychic truth what is needed is not abstract or distant knowledge of this truth but rather an immediate encounter with it. In this paper the author examines the meaning of this immediacy through the study of Betty Joseph’s notion of ‘here and now,’ which in recent years has been most directly associated with it. The author shows how Joseph’s notion of ‘here and now’ continues a legacy beginning in Freud and taken up by Klein regarding the immediacy of unconscious truth that differs from other available analytic formulations of the term. To highlight the uniqueness of Joseph’s contribution the author goes on to examine what distinguishes it within the Kleinian framework. She does this in part through comparison with the clinical approach of Hanna Segal, whose focus on unconscious phantasy adheres to the same foundational legacy. The author points to the differences between Joseph and Segal and their significance, which have not been sufficiently elaborated in the analytic literature. She argues that viewing these differences within the context of a shared perspective on the role of unconscious truth in the analytic process and task enriches our understanding of the complexity of Kleinian thinking and the meaning of truth in psychoanalysis. This understanding is also furthered by the recognition that many uses of the term ‘here and now’ in the analytic literature refer to something very different from what Joseph refers to and are based on a perspective that is fundamentally opposed to hers.