When Time Stands Still: The Non-Interactive Interaction in the Psychoanalytic Encounter

Boaz Shalgi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper strives to shed light on the patient–therapist encounter at times and places where emotional life has stopped, both within the patient and in the therapeutic dyad. The term non-interactive interaction is coined to describe a manner of being together that does not possess the essential features of interaction: movement, encounter, and change. The paper explores the characteristics and effects of such dead areas in one’s soul and the various motivations for the therapist’s willingness to surrender himself to such areas, both those of his patient’s and of his own. Among these, the paper suggests, are the therapist’s love and dedication to his or her patients; his deep-rooted struggle to cope with and give life to some of his own deadened and traumatic self-states; and, perhaps most important, a mythical, hubris-like, valiant, and perennial urge to fight death. Two clinical examples are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-68
Number of pages10
JournalPsychoanalytic Dialogues
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

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