The Intimate Third: Towards a Theory of Coherence

The Intimate Third: Towards a Theory of Coherence


Russell Meares, Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 30:1-18, 2020

Anthony Korner will present Meares’ latest paper in this think tank. The paper describes an approach to psychodynamic psychotherapy using the Conversational Model, highlighting the contribution of Robert Hobson, in association with Russell Meares. It also makes reference to the later work of Sigmund Freud as a precursor to some of Meares’ main ideas. The paper includes an illustrative case study. The presentation will closely follow the structure of the paper, with numerous excerpts.

Abstract: The flow and cohesion of personal existing, the sense of self, is broken up by trauma. The survivor of repeated traumata is left with a deficiency of self involving a subtle disintegration of consciousness. This paper focuses on the way in which self may be fostered, building on the work of Robert Hobson. He proposed a relational means toward coherence of self. The relationship characteristic of traumatic consciousness must be transformed into the triadic relationship of “alone-togetherness.” Steps toward this condition resemble the emergence of self in childhood. Extracts from a therapeutic session illustrate this generative pathway. After an initial state of traumatic “adualism”, a conversation ensues which culminates in the emergence of self, the crucial forerunner of which is the creation of an “intimate third”. The third has a unifying function.

Speakers: Anthony Korner
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