Contemplating spiritual experience: Winnicott's potential space, Tibetan bardo, and liminality

Janette Graetz Simmonds

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2 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, ways of contemplating and accommodating the unfamiliar, especially the other of spiritual experience, are considered. Some concepts from psychoanalysis, such as Winnicott s potential space and his notion of holding, are helpful in comprehending spiritual experiences that can easily be misunderstood, or flattened out to use Bion s phrase. Interesting and rather remarkable confluences in these concepts from psychoanalysis and from Tibetan Buddhism (bardo) and cultural anthropology (liminality) are considered in their functions of both enabling and comprehending these extraordinary and often life-enhancing experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-273
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Forum of Psychoanalysis
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Winnicott
  • potential space
  • psychoanalytic
  • spiritual
  • liminality
  • bardo

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