The workable here and now and the why of there and then



At an earlier time our work as analysts was easier. We searched for the repressed in order to make constructions that connected the past to the present symptoms. Making these connections conscious, based upon the continuing influence of the Topographic theory, was thought to be the curative factor in psychoanalysis.Freud (1912, 1914)briefly expressed the importance of working in the present but his main focus remained the importance of reconstructing the past. The importance of working in the present started to be fully articulated approximately 30 years ago, and has become a central part of most views on technique. However, it is the contention of this paper that, while there is general agreement on the necessity of working in the here and now, the understanding of what this means or why it is useful runs along parallel lines rather than leading to a central point. Further, it is my impression there is little agreement on the reasons for interpreting the there and then. The idea of a ‘workable here and now’ is introduced to capture how the here and now might best include the analysand’s readiness to synthesize what is offered, while a theory of the necessity for working in the here and now and the there and then is offered.