Exploring temporality in psychoanalysis: Repeating the past and finding the future

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Traditionally little was written about the future in psychoanalysis. This chapter explores the experience of the future because without a sense of the future, patients cannot move foreword psychologically. The original Freudian idea of the compulsion to repeat has implications for how the future is experienced and conceptualised. In this chapter, the future is linked to the concept of ‘potential space’ and the ‘what can be’ experience as well as the notion of the ‘return of the repressed’, indicating that the future, as potential for what can be, was blocked and repressed in the past resulting in a lost future. Little emphasis has been placed in psychoanalysis on how the future is an integral part of therapy and the how the re-working of temporality leads to healing. In exploring the future, which is also linked to hope, the corrective emotional experience is seen as a way in which the future can be found and grasped and how, in therapy, the future can be conceptualised as creating a new self. I present a short case from my clinical practice to exemplify these suggestions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPsychotherapy
Subtitle of host publicationMethods, Outcomes and Future Directions
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781634852548
ISBN (Print)9781634852265
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Potential space
  • The corrective emotional experience
  • The future
  • The return of the repressed
  • Transference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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