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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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When What We have to Offer Isn’t Enough

When What We have to Offer Isn’t Enough

Suicide in Clinical Practice

(p.118) Chapter 7 When What We have to Offer Isn’t Enough
The Therapist in Mourning

Catherine L. Anderson

Columbia University Press

In this chapter, the author provides three clinical examples of suicides that occurred during distinct phases in her career, each of which contributed to a deeper understanding about what had happened and the eventual meaning that each suicide came to hold for her. She says that the suicide of a patient is a fundamentally destabilizing and overwhelming event. Therapists likely search, often obsessively, for any signs that they may have missed. Perhaps they feel numb or else rage against their helplessness—as well as the patient who caused it—and feel deep, isolating professional and personal shame. How the situation unfolds depends on a number of important yet often idiosyncratic issues: the therapist's unique history and psychic structure, conflicts, and fantasies; what developmental stage the therapist's career is in; the availability and capacity of the professional and personal support systems that the therapist can access; and the previous relationship that existed between the patient and the therapist.

Keywords:   therapists, patient, death, suicide, loss, grief

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