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The Therapist in MourningFrom the Faraway Nearby$
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Kerry Malawista and Anne Adelman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231156998

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231156998.001.0001

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Missing Myself

Missing Myself

Chapter:
(p.49) Chapter 3 Missing Myself
Source:
The Therapist in Mourning
Author(s):

Sandra Buechler

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231156998.003.0004

This chapter describes the oft-unacknowledged reality that therapists really do miss their patients when they go, whether they plan to leave or end treatment abruptly, or, in some instances, when they die. It introduces the idea that when a treatment ends therapists lose the opportunity to become the person they glimpsed in themselves with that particular patient. What was unique and only possible within this distinct patient–therapist dyad is now gone. It will never again be the same two people in the room together in quite the same way. The chapter also considers the question of how therapists are to behave in the face of such a loss. It suggests that, within the profession, there is a general reluctance to acknowledge the gratifications received from patients or the benefits gained from practice, which in turn complicates the grieving process. The loss of a patient is inextricably linked with the loss of a certain kind of personal satisfaction, or “joy”.

Keywords:   therapists, patient, grief, loss, psychotherapy, personal satisfaction

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