Writing Lived Experience – A Melancholy Elegy

  • Ying Liu De Montfort University / The University of Edinburgh


This paper explores the limitations of language in psychotherapeutic writing about lived experience and how psychanalytic concepts can help us both understand and work through the inevitable loss that results from these limitations. It is illustrated by the author’s experience of undertaking a doctoral research project in psychotherapy where the experience of narrative incoherence was explored through writing. Paralleled to the doctoral research project was the author’s challenges in writing the experience of incoherence. By reflecting on and analysing these challenges, this paper explores the sense of loss that is located at the core of writing lived experience through psychoanalytic concepts including the third position and melancholia. The limitations of language in capturing the fullness of lived experienced is shed light on. Connecting the psychoanalytic concept of melancholia to Romanyshyn’s (2013) writing as elegy, I propose writing lived experience as a melancholy elegy in which what is lost in language can be acknowledged and kept alive in the writer’s psyche. I argue for the creative potential brought by the continuous engagement with the sense of loss in writing lived experience.



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How to Cite
Liu, Y. (2020). Writing Lived Experience – A Melancholy Elegy. Language and Psychoanalysis, 9(1), 55-67. https://doi.org/10.7565/landp.v9i1.1704
Original Articles