They never lived: an anthropological study of absent presence in the therapy room

Salma Siddique

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This presentation will explore ideas from psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, and apply them to person-centred ethnography (Levy,1998) from the perspective of relational ethics. It will look at the effects of becoming an anthropologist in the consulting room. The recognition of the subjectivity of human experience is an exploration of myth making (Binswanger 1957;Levi-Strauss, 1978) and of reclaiming hidden objects. The mental representation both internal and external, objects are familiar in the work of Klein,(1958) and Sodré, (2004) where psychological approaches to materialistic cultures occur between client and therapist.The social positioning of therapy with the client’s loss can make or unmake their sense of personhood. The author explores her own journey between the two disciplines of anthropological phenomenology and psychotherapy; she uses psychoanalysis to better understand intentionality and explores how the relationship with language defines different ways of being in the world. When this is applied in the therapy room by the observer-participant it can show how suffering and strangeness can characterise an aspect of human experiencing through the body.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2019


  • Subjectivity
  • Interpositionality
  • Configurations
  • Thirdspace


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