N.17 - Time and Narration

The emotional value of narrative and Infant Observation

Abstract

Narration is defined between these two limits, historicizing and observation. Every narrative tends to be transformed into a history, every narrative is based on sensorial data and on the observation of others. Psychic temporality suitable for narration would not yet be that of historicizing, nor would it be the temporality of attention or observation. In this communication, we advance the hypothesis that narration introduces a kind of psychic temporality into bonds in order to face the “outside-of-time” of very primitive anxieties. Using clinical data from work with babies, we regard the narration as a capacity of rêverie (Bion) that acquires an emotional value in intersubjective situations. First, we explore the “present moment” (Stern) and the relationship between narration and primitive sufferings, in order to differentiate the narrative process from historicizing. Secondly, we study the Esther Bick’s method of infant observation. The time of observation is used to develop the observer’s capacity of rêverie the group can contain and transform primitive sufferings by the work of “associating different points of view”. An example illustrates our thesis.

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