Intersubjectivity is a term used to describe the shared understanding between two or more people. It is a fundamental concept in psychology that has been used in research to explore the dynamics of interpersonal relationships and communication. This article will review the literature on intersubjectivity and its implications for psychological theory and practice.

Intersubjectivity can be understood as a mutual recognition that two people are both having an individual experience. This recognition is based on the assumption that two people can have different emotional or cognitive states that influence their understanding of the world. Intersubjectivity is distinct from intersubjective understanding, which is based on the shared understanding of two people who are in the same situation. Intersubjectivity involves a shared understanding of the other’s experience, independent of the particular context.

Research into intersubjectivity has found that it plays an important role in the development of communication, social relationships, and even personal identity. For example, it has been suggested that intersubjectivity is a key factor in the development of empathy, the capacity to understand and respond to the feelings of another. Intersubjectivity has also been found to be important in the formation and maintenance of close relationships, such as marriage and friendships. Furthermore, it has been proposed that intersubjectivity is a necessary condition for the development of a strong sense of self.

In terms of psychological theory, intersubjectivity has been linked to developmental theories of attachment and identity formation. Specifically, it has been argued that intersubjectivity is necessary for the development of a secure and positive attachment between two people. Similarly, intersubjectivity has been proposed to be necessary for the development of strong identity formation, as it helps individuals to understand and accept themselves as part of a larger social context.

In terms of practice, intersubjectivity has been used as a therapeutic tool to help individuals gain insight into their own experiences and the experiences of others. Therapists have used intersubjectivity to help their clients recognize and understand the feelings and experiences of others, as well as their own. This understanding can then be used to create a more open communication between clients and therapists, which can help to foster stronger relationships and better mental health.

Overall, intersubjectivity is an important concept in psychology that has implications for both theory and practice. It is an essential component of communication, social relationships, and identity formation, and it can be used as a therapeutic tool to help individuals gain insight into their own and other’s experiences.


Cooley, S. E., & Luterman, J. (2020). Intersubjectivity: A primer for therapists. Psychotherapy Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 57(4), 585–593.

Granqvist, P., & Kirkpatrick, L. A. (2018). The role of intersubjectivity in attachment and identity formation. Current Opinion in Psychology, 21, 37-41.

Hazan, C., & Shaver, P. (1994). Attachment as an organizational framework for research on close relationships. Psychological Inquiry, 5(1), 1–22.

Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2015). Attachment in adulthood: Structure, dynamics, and change. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Scroll to Top