Volume 30, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This paper joins the discussions on imaginal dialogue with references to the relational turn in psychoanalysis. It explores imaginal dialogue as a creative, relational endeavour in evoking the unconscious materials. By describing my own imaginal dialogue with Virginia Woolf, it exemplifies the potentiality of reading as an embodied, co-constructed interplay between the reader and the text. The deepening of relational and dialogical engagement with the text not only stirs the affective depth in the reader, but also brings the reader to conjure the presence of the author as an object for relatedness in the process of narrative inquiry. Imaginal dialogue transgresses beyond the poststructuralist allowance of interpretive pluralism to relational processes of the encounters with the presence of the author as their imaginary co-inquirer. Imaginal dialogue, I argue, not only provides an alternative kind of narrative framing, but the imaginal relationship becomes the very locus of knowledge creation.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Armstrong, I.
    (1995) Textual Harassment: the Ideology of Close Reading, or How Close is Close?. Textual Practice9(3), 401–420. 10.1080/09502369508582228
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09502369508582228 [Google Scholar]
  2. Atkins, K.
    (2004) Narrative identity, practical identity and ethical subjectivity. Continental Philosophical Review, 37(3), 341–366. 10.1007/s11007‑004‑5559‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s11007-004-5559-3 [Google Scholar]
  3. Bakhtin, M. M.
    (1981 [1975]) The dialogical imagination (C. Emerson & M. Holquist, Trans.). Austin: University of Texas Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. (1986) Speech genres and other late essays. (V. W. McGee, Trans.) Austin: University of Texas Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Bollas, C.
    (1987) The shadow of the object: Psychoanalysis of the unthought known. London: Free Association Books Ltd.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Bowie, M.
    (1987) Freud, Proust, and Lacan: Theory as fiction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Bruner, J.
    (2004) The narrative creation of self. InL. E. Angus & J. McLeod (Eds.), The handbook of narrative and psychotherapy: Practice, theory, and research (pp.3–14). London: Sage. 10.4135/9781412973496.d3
    https://doi.org/10.4135/9781412973496.d3 [Google Scholar]
  8. Clarke, S., Hahn, H., & Hoggett, P.
    (Eds.) (2008) Object relations and social relations: The implications of the relational turn in psychoanalysis. London: Karnac.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Cixous. H.
    (1993) Three steps on the ladder of writing. New York: Columbia University Press.
  10. Cuddy-Keane, M.
    (2003) Virginia Woolf, the Intellectual, and the Public Sphere. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511485060
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511485060 [Google Scholar]
  11. Faini, P.
    (2012) The Challenge of Free Indirect Speech in Mrs. Dalloway. InO. Palusci (Ed.), Translating Virginia Woolf. Peter Lang: Bern.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Fairbairn, W. R. D.
    (1946) Object-relationships and dynamic structure, inW. R. D. Fairbairn, Psychoanalytic Studies of the Personality (pp.137–153). London: Tavistock 1952.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Fang, N.
    (2017) No wonder: The problem of ‘depression’ in psychodynamic Practice, Psychodynamic Practice, 23(4), 382–389. doi:  10.1080/14753634.2017.1367459
    https://doi.org/10.1080/14753634.2017.1367459 [Google Scholar]
  14. Felipe, M.
    (2016) The dialogical self in psychoanalysis. The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 85(4): 929–961. 10.1002/psaq.12111
    https://doi.org/10.1002/psaq.12111 [Google Scholar]
  15. Felski, R.
    (2008) Uses of Literature. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. 10.1002/9781444302790
    https://doi.org/10.1002/9781444302790 [Google Scholar]
  16. (2015) The Limits of Critique. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 10.7208/chicago/9780226294179.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226294179.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  17. Fish, S.
    (1980) Is there a text in this class? The authority of interpretative communities. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Frank, A. W.
    (2013) The wounded story-teller: Body, illness, and ethics (2nd edition). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Gergen, K. J.
    (1982) Toward transformation in social knowledge. New York: Springer-Verlag. 10.1007/978‑1‑4612‑5706‑6
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4612-5706-6 [Google Scholar]
  20. (1994) Realities and relationships: Soundings in social constructionism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Goring, P.
    (2012) The Shape of To the Lighthouse: Lily Briscoe’s painting and the reader’s vision, Word & Image, 10(3), 222–229. 10.1080/02666286.1994.10435516
    https://doi.org/10.1080/02666286.1994.10435516 [Google Scholar]
  22. Greenberg, J. R., & Mitchell, S. A.
    (1983) Object relations in psychoanalytic theory. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 10.2307/j.ctvjk2xv6
    https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctvjk2xv6 [Google Scholar]
  23. Hermans, H. J. M.
    (1987) Self as organized system of valuations: Toward a dialogue with the person. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 34(1), 10–19. 10.1037/0022‑0167.34.1.10
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0167.34.1.10 [Google Scholar]
  24. Hermans, H. J. M., Kempen, H. J. G., & Van Loon, J. P.
    (1992) The dialogical self: Beyond individualism and rationalism. American Psychologist, 47(1), 23–33. 10.1037/0003‑066X.47.1.23
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.47.1.23 [Google Scholar]
  25. Hermans, H., Rijks, T., & Kempen, H.
    (1993) Imaginal dialogues in the self: Theory and method. Journal of Personality, 61(2), 207–236. 10.1111/j.1467‑6494.1993.tb01032.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.1993.tb01032.x [Google Scholar]
  26. Iliya, Y. A., & Harris, B. T.
    (2015) Singing an imaginal dialogue: A qualitative examination of a bereavement intervention with creative arts therapists. The Nordic Journal of Music, 25(3), 248–272. 10.1080/08098131.2015.1044259
    https://doi.org/10.1080/08098131.2015.1044259 [Google Scholar]
  27. Keating, A.
    (2012) Speculative realism, visionary pragmatism, and poet-shamanic aesthetics in Gloria Anzaldua and beyond. Women’s Studies Quarterly, 40(3/4), 51–69.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Kristeva, J.
    (1989) Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia. New York: Columbia University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Laplanche, J., & Pontalis, J. B.
    (1967/1973) The language of psychoanalysis. New York, NY: Norton.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Lather, P.
    (2007) Getting lost: Feminist efforts toward a double(d) science. Albany: State University of New York.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. McNiff, S.
    (1992) Art as medicine: Creating a therapy of the imagination. Boston: Shambhala Publications.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Mitchell, S. A.
    (1998) Fairbairn’s object seeking. InN. Skolnick & D. Scharff, (Eds.), Fairbairn, then and now (pp.115–135). Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Oppenheim, L.
    (2015) Psychoanalysis and the artistic endeavour: Conversations with literary and visual artists. New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group. 10.4324/9781315743578
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315743578 [Google Scholar]
  34. Rubens, R. L.
    (1994) Fairbairn’s structural theory. In, J. S. Grotstein & D. B. Rinsley, (Eds) Fairbairn and the Origins of Object Relations (pp.151–173). London: Free Association.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Sarbin, T.
    (2017) The Poetics of my identities. InK. E. Scheibe & F. J. Barret (Eds), The storied nature of human life: The life and work of Theodore R Sarbin. New York/London: Palgrave/Macmillan.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Sarbin, T. R.
    (1986) The narrative as a root metaphor for psychology. InT. R. Sarbin (Ed.), Narrative psychology: The storied nature of human conduct (pp.3–21). New York: Praeger.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Smith, B., & Sparkes, A. C.
    (2008) Contrasting perspectives on narrating selves and identities: An invitation to dialogue. Qualitative Research, 8(1), 5–35. 10.1177/1468794107085221
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1468794107085221 [Google Scholar]
  38. Smythe, W. E.
    (2013) The dialogical Jung: Otherness within the self. Behavioural Sciences, 3(4), 634–646. 10.3390/bs3040634
    https://doi.org/10.3390/bs3040634 [Google Scholar]
  39. Snaith, A.
    (1996) Virginia Woolf’s Narrative Strategies: Negotiating between Public and Private Voices. Journal of Modern Literature, 20(2), 133–148.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Speedy, J.
    (2008) Narrative inquiry and psychotherapy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1007/978‑1‑137‑02155‑7
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-137-02155-7 [Google Scholar]
  41. Stolorow, R. D.
    (2007) Trauma and human existence: Autobiographical, psychoanalytic, and philosophical reflections. New York: The Analytic Press / Taylor and Francis.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Tamas, S.
    (2009) Writing and righting trauma: Troubling the auto-ethnographic voice. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 10(1), Article 22. Retrieved from: www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1211/2641
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Watkins, M.
    (2016[1986]) Invisible guests: The development of imaginal dialogues. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Woolf, V.
    (1977 [1926]) The Letters of Virginia Woolf (Vol. 3). InN. Nicolson & J. Trautmann (Eds.), London: Hogarth Press.
  45. (1984 [1925]) Modern Fiction. InA. McNeille (Ed). The Essays of Virginia Woolf. Volume 4: 1925 to 1928 (pp.157–165). London: The Hogarth Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. (1985 [1953]) A Writer’s diary: Being extracts from the Diary of Virginia Woolf. InL. Woolf (Ed.), London: Hogarth Press.
  47. (1986 [1926]) How should one read a book. InA. McNellie (Ed.), The Common Reader Second Series (pp.258–70). London: Hogarth Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. (1992 [1925]) Mrs Dalloway. InS. McNichol (Ed.), Collected Novels of Virginia Woolf: Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, The Waves (pp.33–176). Basingstoke: Macmillan. 10.1007/978‑1‑349‑22364‑0_2
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-22364-0_2 [Google Scholar]
  49. (1992 [1927]) To the Lighthouse. InS. McNichol (Ed.), Collected Novels of Virginia Woolf: Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, The Waves (pp.177–334). Basingstoke: Macmillan. 10.1007/978‑1‑349‑22364‑0_3
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-22364-0_3 [Google Scholar]
  50. Wyatt, J., & Gale, K.
    (2018) Writing to it: Creative engagements with writing practice in and with the not yet known in today’s academy. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 31(2), 119–129. 10.1080/09518398.2017.1349957
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09518398.2017.1349957 [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): creative-relational; Fairbairn; imaginal dialogue; object-relations; Virginia Woolf
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error