Lived Depth: A Phenomenology of Psychoanalytic Process and Identity
by John C. Foehl, PhD
In this article, I lay out the implications of a phenomenological perspective in which subject, world, and others are given in one stroke, part of the same emergent process. Trends in contemporary psychoanalytic theory lean toward this radical nondualistic view but never quite relinquish a perspective in which subject and object, subject and subject are separate. Through my early studies in phenomenology, I have come to see that psychoanalytic process is better understood as a perceptual engagement in which meaning is formed in the relationship between what is experienced and its context/background/field, a process of lived depth. Strikingly, psychoanalytic identity is a similar process. Inchoate shifts in meaning and investment that we cannot know in formation come clear in relation to a coalescing sense of our place in a professional context. We come to know ourselves retrospectively, an act of après-coup that momentarily stills a continual shape-shifting process, one part of the lived experience of depth.
Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 40:2, 131-146, February 2020.
About the Author
Jack Foehl, PhD, is a Training and Supervising Analyst at Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute where he is President-Elect. He is Faculty and Supervisor at Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis and Harvard Medical School; Clinical Associate Professor (part time) at NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy; Executive Editor at Psychoanalytic Dialogues; and Editorial Board Member of The International Journal of Psychoanalysis. He is the author of numerous articles on contemporary perspectives in psychoanalytic theory of technique and new ways of thinking about psychoanalytic process. He is in private practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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