Time in Practice: Analytical Perspectives on the Times of Our Lives

Author(s) : Mary Lynne Ellis

Time in Practice: Analytical Perspectives on the Times of Our Lives

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : August 2008
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 230
  • Category :
  • Catalogue No : 25874
  • ISBN 13 : 9781855755611
  • ISBN 10 : 1855755610
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This book is an original exploration of the importance in the analytical relationship of an attentiveness to lived, conscious and unconscious experiences of time in its three dimensions. It critically discusses the diverse concepts of time implied in different writings in the psychoanalytic tradition, namely those of Freud, Jung, Klein, Lacan, and Winnicott. "Time in Practice" highlights the limitations of spatial metaphors and the emphasis on the past as determinative. It discusses the contributions of modern European philosophical concepts of temporality. Eva Hoffman's interweaving of time and language in her autobiographical descriptions is shown to be crucially relevant to psychoanalytic practices. Exploring psychoanalytic notions of 'cure', the book emphasizes the importance of language and imagination in opening out future possibilities for the patient. Lively references to case material illustrate the relevance of its arguments.

Reviews and Endorsements

'Exceptionally well researched, informative and critical, Time in Practice brings new light to bear on psychoanalytic theories of time. In this innovative and thought provoking contribution Mary Lynne Ellis traces writings on time from the major psychoanalytic thinkers of the twentieth century. Interwoven with reference to philosophy and feminism the text challenges the traditional developmental emphasis in psychoanalysis. The wide-ranging discourse is illustrated with pertinent vignettes from clinical practice. This welcome addition to the literature will appeal to psychotherapists from many different analytic schools.'
- Professor Joy Schaverien, Jungian Analyst in Private Practice, Author of The Dying Patient in Psychotherapy and editor of Gender, Countertransference and the Erotic Transference.

'The field of psychoanalysis is littered with miscellaneous assumptions about time and temporality - and these assumptions, as Mary Lynne Ellis shows, are often badly flawed. With the help of phenomenological theories of time, together with well-drawn case vignettes, Ellis clears away much of the muddle and offers cogent suggestions for future work, both practical and theoretical. Readable, persuasive and well-informed.'
- Jonathan Rée, philosopher and historian. Books include Proletarian Philosophers, Philosophical Tales, Heidegger, and I See a Voice.

'Time has always been a central issue for psychoanalysis, whether the legendary "Our time is up for today" or (the equally legendary) Lacanian variation of the length of the session. Yet theorization of this key topic has laggd behind. In this book, Mary Lynne Ellis considers the many sorts of time with which psychoanalysts and their patients must engage. She addresses the similarities, differences and plain incommensurabilities between implicit and explicit psychoanalytic and phenomenological theories of time. The result is a work that anyone interested in this protean matter will now have to consult.'
- Muriel Dimen PhD, Psychoanalyst, Author of Sexuality Intimacy Power, Editor of Studies in Gender and Sexuality, Professor Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, New York University

'Mary Lynne Ellis's work is of major interest since it locates its reflections on time at the conjuncture of her practice (as a psychoanalyst she presents numerous clinical cases), and of her engagement with concepts arising from the philosophical tradition. From her transverse perspective, the author is committed to creating a perspective which can allow for thinking the complex relation between past, present, and future (devenir), while taking into account the teaching of Freud and those of phenomenology and deconstruction. Through her questions the author offers new insight into the problems of finitude, of the relation between memory and experience, the time of the analytic cure, the length of sessions, scansions, temporal discontinuities, including the notion of "après-coup".
It is Mary Lynne Ellis's deployment of a double culture which gives its work all its richness; one of its plinths being the strength of its attention to the logic of narrative and to the imaginative variations which it generates. Consequently, one can with the author, view psychoanalysis as spanning a mixed epistemology, as Paul Ricoeur and Michel de Certeau have previously argued.'
- François Dosse, historian, university professor, author of Histoire de Structuralisme (2 vols.), Paul Ricoeur, Les Sens d'une Vie, Michel de Certeau, le marcheur blessé, Le Pari Biographique. Ecrire une Vie.

'Mary Lynne Ellis' Time in Practice casts intriguing new light upon the unexplored assumptions about time embedded in psychoanalytic theory and practice. Through reflecting on her own practice from a largely phenomenological perspective, she arrives at a series of critiques of such key theorists as Freud, Jung, Klein, Lacan, Winnicott and Kristeva, arguing that each is to a greater or lesser extent blinkered by their concern with infancy as the only significant, endlessly repeated, time. It blinds them both to the socio-historical specificity of individual lives and to 'the newness of the instant as theorized by Levinas' which constitutes 'the opportunity for change in psychoanalysis'. But it is Merleau-Ponty with his theories on the way in which psychoanalysis 'binds the subject to his doctor through new existential relationships', and thus effects change, who emerges as the most helpful theoretical guide in this study. Emphasizing as it does throughout the importance of the analyst's attentiveness to the patient's changing orientation towards the future as well as the past, this thoughtful and innovative book is ultimately refreshingly hopeful about the possibilities for change within that moment of time which constitutes psychoanalytic practice. Lucidly written, with examples drawn from print culture and case histories as well as theoretical discourse, it also provokes its readers to think anew about their own general experience and understanding of time.'
- Jane Aaron PhD., Professor of English and Director of the Gender Studies in Wales Centre, University of Glamorgan. Author of A Double Singleness, Gender and the Writings of Charles and Mary Lamb(OUP) and 19th Century Women's Writing in Wales(University of Wales Press).

About the Author(s)

Mary Lynne Ellis is a qualified analyst in private practice in North London. With over twenty-five years clinical experience she has contributed to a number of psychoanalytic and art psychotherapy trainings. She has MAs in Art Therapy and in Modern European Philosophy and has lectured widely on phenomenology and psychoanalysis. She is author of Time In Practice: Analytical Experiences of the Times of Our Lives (Karnac, 2008). She is a practising artist.

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