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Jointness is a term (1991) in psychoanalysis and psychodynamic theory, describing a new look at normal object relation that takes place in a third, joint, virtual space between individuals that are separated from the beginning of life (mother and newborn, psychotherapist and patient).

Jointness represents an encounter between mother and infant or any partners experiencing simultaneously mutual intimacy, while concomitantly safeguarding separateness. The merging and separateness need to be constantly regulated. This continuous movement creates a "psychic space" between partners and elicits the triadic object relations.

In this type of transitional space the individuals jointly determine the extent of rapprochement between themselves while each of them is sensorily attentive to the strangeness and the separateness of the “non-self” that the other represents for him. Communication is created between the partners through the "psychic space" by the mutual investment of the partners in a joint object, phenomenon or idea, meaningful to both. Such a dynamic process paves the way to a sense of narcissistic restoration and culminates to establish the narcissistic integrity.

In difference with Margaret Mahler's theory, symbiosis is a dyadic pathological process, from the beginning of life, producing narcissistic fragility.

Papers and Articles

  • Solan, Ronnie (1991). Jointness as integration of merging and separateness in object relations and narcissism.. Psychoanal. Study of the Child, 46: 337-352..
  • Solan, Ronnie (1998) Narcissistic Fragility in the Process of Befriending the Unfamiliar. Psychoanal. Amer. J. Psycho-Anal., Vol. 58:(2)163-186.
  • Solan, Ronnie (1998b). The Narcissitic Vulnerability to Change in Object Relation. In Psychoan. In Israel (Theoriebildung und therapeutische Praxis). BlatteR Band 9. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Gottingen.
  • Solan, Ronnie (1999). The Interaction Between Self and Other: A Different Perspective on Narcissism. Psychoanal. Study of the Child, 54: 193-215.
  • Solan, Ronnie (2007). Enigma of Childhood (in Hebrew). Modan Publishing House.

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