2nd Edition

Time in Practice Temporality, Intersubjectivity, and Listening Differently

By Mary Lynne Ellis Copyright 2024
    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    Time in Practice: Temporality, Intersubjectivity, and Listening Differently is an original exploration of diverse ways in which individuals ‘live’ time, consciously and unconsciously. Challenging the psychoanalytic emphasis on the past as determinative, Mary Lynne Ellis explores the significance of present and future dimensions of individuals’ experiences which catalyses change in the analytical relationship.

    Through critical analyses of the theorizing of Freud, Jung, Klein, Winnicott, and Lacan, Ellis highlights the limitations of spatial metaphors, binaries of ‘inner’/‘outer’, in addressing the socio-political and historical specificity of patients’ experiences, including questions of identity and discrimination. She explores how intersectional and interdisciplinary perspectives allow for the development of new interpretations of temporality/intersubjectivity/language/embodiment in analytical practices. Ellis reflects on the dynamism of conceptualizations emergent in autobiography, fiction, phenomenological and postmodern philosophy, gender, post-colonial, queer, and cultural studies, for contemporary relational psychoanalytic practices. This revised and updated edition includes discussion of experiences of loss, vulnerability, mortality, inequalities, and powerlessness associated with the profound impact of the spread of the coronavirus, climate change, and the Ukraine war. It also includes a new chapter on mourning, time, and identities.

    The book will be of interest to psychotherapists, art therapists, counsellors, psychologists, and those working in the fields of gender, sexuality, class, race, and post-colonial studies, literature, and allied disciplines.


    PART ONE: Questions of time in psychoanalysis

    1. Freud’s time: repeating or constructing?

    2. Jung's unconscious: past, present, and future 

    3. Klein: splitting the breast or split in time?

    4. Winnicott and Lacan: more about time

    PART TWO: Living time: new perspectives

    5. Living time and the time of the Other

    6. States of time

    7. Identities in time

    8. Times of mourning: mourning’s dissonance

    9. Time, narrative, and change in the analytical relationship



    Mary Lynne Ellis is a relational analytical/phenomenological psychotherapist in private practice in London. With nearly forty years’ experience, she has also worked as an art therapist in the NHS and the voluntary sector. Her many publications focus on questions of language, identities, and embodiment in analytical psychotherapy. She is co-author, with Noreen O'Connor, of Questioning Identities: Philosophy in Psychoanalytic Practice (Routledge). Ellis has master’s degrees in philosophy and in art therapy. She is also a visual artist.

    “This wonderful book takes the reader on a fascinating journey that can never end, because its territory is the frontiers of time itself. We know in psychoanalysis that time is the essence. We know that the past lives in the present and births what may come. We understand that memory is always a reconstruction, unfolding both within and between us. But Ellis evokes something infinitely new. The temporal swirl in which we work generates endless possibilities for one to live and make more meaning. An inspiring journey, well worth taking.” - Eyal Rozmarin, PhD., is an Author, Co-Editor of the book series, Relational Perspectives in Psychoanalysis, on the editorial board of the journals Psychoanalytic Dialogues and Studies in Gender and Sexuality, and a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York.

    “Mary Lynne has achieved an extremely significant task in bringing together psychoanalysis, phenomenology and other European philosophies to allow us to think about psychoanalysis differently. The kind of difference that allows the possibility for psychoanalysis to engage with the lived experience of LGBTQI+ people of colour, class disadvantage and other forms of oppression in a much more meaningful way. Her interrogation of time in practice opens up a wider exploration of the limits of western paradigms within psychoanalysis and exposes the coloniality of its ventures. A difference that makes psychoanalysis more accessible and fruitful for us all.” - Dr Peter Nevins, Psychoanalyst, The Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis and the Guild of Psychotherapists, London.

    “A welcome opportunity to re-examine taken-for-granted concepts within psychotherapy culture involving the topic of time alongside questions of change, 'cure', mourning and mortality. Unlike normative, reactionary engagements with psychoanalytic theory and practice, this edition places canonical treatments of time in critical dialogue with a range of interdisciplinary sources. These sources are upheld as legitimate, complementary and developmental to our work through their reflexive sensitivity to the role of power within the relational construction of social identities. Case material and discussions provide valuable models for less rigid and more liberatory therapeutic practice.” - Dr. Nicholas Frealand, Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, south London, UK - The Black, African and Asian Therapy Network, NHS/CAMHS, The Relational School, The Association of Child Psychotherapists.

    “This new edition firmly positions an original and important book about time in the analytic relationship in the contemporary context, including the pandemic, the conflict in Ukraine, the increasing urgency of the climate crisis and cultural shifts relating to race, gender and sexuality.  It looks afresh at our relationship with time, loss, mortality and the future after these major upheavals, with new thinking about how mourning can be understood in today’s world.” - Sue Kegerreis, Adult, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapist, Professor of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex, U.K., Managing Editor of Psychodynamic Practice, Author of Psychodynamic Counselling with Children and Young People: An Introduction (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

    “This volume sensitively and creatively reimages time, both therapeutic and otherwise, as a non-linear, mercurial amalgam of past, present, and future, determined by interpersonal, socio- political, conscious and unconscious subjectivities. Theorizing from a number of psychoanalytic, social, and socio-political perspectives, this revised and expanded volume also explores the intersectionality of identities across time and place. The volume will be of interest to scholars and clinicians alike.” - Emily Kuriloff, Clinical Psychologist, Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst, Director of Clinical Education Emeritus William Alanson White Institute, New York, Author (2014). of Contemporary Psychoanalysis and the Legacy of the Third Reich. History, Memory, Tradition. Routledge, New York and London

    “Since the first edition of this book, the time lived by Mary Lynne Ellis has left traces that she does not fail to address in this lucid update of a book as profound as it is necessary. Time in its different dimensions has not only been a subject for psychoanalysis, but also constitutes a central pillar of the therapeutic relationship and of all human relationships. In a brilliant and creative way Ellis constructs a reflective work that connects us with the temporal becoming of our lives and that of our patients.” - Claudio Martínez, G. MSc., Ph.D., Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago-Chile, Profesor Titular, Director Centro de Estudios en Psicología Clínica y Psicoterapia (CEPPS), Director Proyecto T Chair of Latin American Chapter of Society for Psychotherapy Research Facultad de Psicología, Universidad Diego Portales Santiago-Chile

    “This accessible and engaging text interrogates the concept of time in psychoanalytic theory through a philosophical and intersectional lens. Its argument, that past time has been privileged over the present and future, leading to universalising theories in psychoanalytic thinking, opens up a space for listening to the particular ways in which individuals become situated in the socio-political world. The book will be of interest to group analysts whose focus tends towards the lateral in interpersonal relationships, and art therapists where art making in therapy can be construed as timed performance.” - Dr Sally Skaife, PhD., previously Senior Lecturer in Goldsmiths, University of London, now a group analytic art therapist in private practice. 

    “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 and her engagement with concepts arising from the philosophical tradition. Her transverse perspective allows for thinking the complex relation between past, present, and future (becoming). Ellis 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”. A second edition was essential.” - François Dosse, historian, university professor, author of Histoire de Structuralisme (2 vols., 1991, 1992), Paul Ricoeur, Les Sens d’une Vie (1997), Michel de Certeau, le marcheur blessé (2002), Le Pari Biographique. Ecrire une Vie (2005), La Saga des intellectuels français: 1944-1989 (2018), Les vérités du roman. Une histoire du temps présent (2023).