Winnicott’s Transitional Space: Contribution to Contemporary Psychotherapy and Spirituality
By Rudolph Bauer, Ph.D., Diplomate in Clinical Psychology, A.B.P.P.
Rudolph Bauer, Ph.D., Author, Erin Johannesen, M.A., M.D., Editor
WINNICOTT’S TRANSITIONAL SPACE AND RELATEDNESS OPENS UP FOR SO MANY…
1. The opening of the non-conceptual dimension in both psychotherapy and spirituality.
2. The emphasis on the place, or the space, wherein the primordial self appears that is non-representational and non-narrative based…Transitional space is NON-NARRATIVE IN NATURE. It is the place where the narrative can be inscribed or held, but is not the narrative itself.
3. It is the basic space of awareness…there is a field of understanding within Winnicott’s transitional space and relatedness experience…experience as field. There is also the implication of A NON-CONCEPTUAL KNOWINGNESS…that is not simply a psychological state or ego state--the cognitive-affective behavioral collages. On entering and becoming transitional space there is an implicit level of experiencing, a knowingness and relatedness beyond words and letters.
This area of experience is actually an intermediate area of experiencing that is between thinking and affective experience, between memory and sensation, between fantasy and reality. There is enormous power in the intermediate area of experience… One’s capacity and skill in entering the in-between is both the base of awareness and the doorway to experiencing the ONGOING CONTINUITY OF THE SENSE OF BEINGNESS OF ONE’S OWN BEING.
4. There are explicit implications for psychotherapy and connections to such spiritual paths as Dzogchen Tibetan Buddhism. When working within this intermediate area of experience, we are working in the place of potential space. We are being in the in-between space that is the opening of openness itself. Such opening, [Heidegger’s] dasein is the foundation, the base of intrinsic awareness…beyond representational and symbolic functions.
BEING IN THIS POTENTIAL SPACE IS A FORM OF MEDITATIVE AWARENESS THAT CAN BE FOUND IN VARIOUS TRADITIONS…IN DZOGCHEN AND IN SHAVISM.
There is a sense of at-homeness in the experience of the beingness of one’s own being.
This potential space has IMPLICATIONS for working with PSYCHOSOMATIC DIFFICULTIES that may impede our CAPACITY TO BE IN THE INTERMEDIATE AREA. This capacity can then be invoked and brought forth. One learns to work within this intermediate area of experience, this place of potential space….this being in the in-between space, the openness of openness itself. It is the foundation, the base of intrinsic awareness, beyond representations and symbolic function.