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In here and out there: sensations between Self and landscape

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Early childhood experience of Self in relation to Other may profoundly influence subsequent perception and experience of landscape as an adult. Yet, these past and present spatial relationships are often held in unconscious levels of the psyche, which are difficult to articulate when approached by conventional qualitative methods. Engaging with psychotherapeutic methodologies has proved highly productive in facilitating adults to connect with and articulate their perception of landscape. In this paper I demonstrate the application of object relations psychoanalytic theory in qualitative research undertaken to explore the complexities of the influence of gender identity on landscape perception in adults. I draw on D.W. Winnicott's theory of 'potential space', as the location of culture, to develop a methodology that focuses on sensory experience, in particular the tactile. In this way participants were facilitated to access early regressed spaces whilst staying connected with present experience. Reporting on a series of practical workshops, used alongside in-depth interviewing techniques, I show how it is possible to examine the complex conscious and unconscious relationships at different sensory levels between Self and landscape.
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Keywords: Landscape; psychotherapeutic method; sensory experience

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Health Research, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YT, UK

Publication date: 2003-09-01

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