Here and now: My perspective


  • 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).


In this paper the author describes her particular perspective in doing analytic work. She stresses working in the here and now. For example, making interpretations that grow out of what the patient says or does in the sessions, keeping the patient’s history in mind, but not letting it lead interpretations. The analysis tries to understand why something is being said now, in this way, and what impact it may have or be designed to have in the analytic relationship. The term ‘here’ refers to what is going on between patient and analyst in the room while not leaving out the patient’s immediate reality in the outside world, his everyday life. The word ‘now’ implies awareness of time that is not just of the past and future but of the patient’s situation at the moment in analysis, which is constantly shifting.The author believes that by working primarily in the present the patient will feel more anchored, both patient and analyst can observe what is going on, for example how anxiety arises or decreases, how defences are mobilised or lessen. Both analyst and patient experience movement and change rather than relying on more theoretical explanations.