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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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Experiences of Loss at the End of Analysis

Experiences of Loss at the End of Analysis

The Analyst’s Response to Termination

(p.32) Chapter 2 Experiences of Loss at the End of Analysis
The Therapist in Mourning

Judith Viorst

Columbia University Press

This chapter demonstrates that the need to identify, resolve, and digest one's losses is a significant technical issue for psychoanalysts when the patient is nearing the end of treatment. It also shows that, in dealing with aspects of loss, analysts may find that they can utilize their responses for their own—as well as their patients'—further development. It describes the primary themes uncovered over the course of sixteen interviews with analysts who discussed their personal experience of terminating with long-term patients. All but one of the interviewees acknowledged that ending treatment invariably elicited feelings of loss. It highlights that this is an intimate relationship from both sides of the couch. Each analyst organizes and makes sense of these feelings in a unique way that then affects their clinical decisions during the termination. Each participant is subject to a range of feelings that can complicate the process of ending treatment. The chapter raises the hopeful idea that during the termination phase both patient and analyst have new opportunities to mourn.

Keywords:   therapists, psychoanalysts, long-term patients, mourning, psychotherapy, treatment termination

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