1st Edition

Developmental, Cultural, and Clinical Realms

Edited By

Salman Akhtar

ISBN 9780367404260
Published November 26, 2019 by Routledge
270 Pages

USD $46.95

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Book Description

The experience of loss is ubiquitous in human life, but its nature and impact have great variations. When loss is phase-specific, expected, and accompanied by compensatory supplies, it can lead to ego growth. When loss is untimely, unexpected, and unaccompanied by environmental 'holding,' it becomes traumatic and needs clinical attention.

This edited volume brings together a distinguished cadre of international contributors in order to explain the multifaceted and nuanced nature of loss from a variety of different perspectives. These clinicians, administrators, and writers delineate the great variability in the setting, antecedents, and consequences of loss. Development-facilitating and development-impeding losses are addressed and so are the losses that seem inevitable as one moves from childhood through adolescence and young adulthood to midlife and old age. Loss experienced by institutional organizations and war-torn societies is also examined. The book’s ultimate focus is clinical: it highlights the many technical dilemmas in working with grieving patients and offers therapeutic strategies aimed at ameliorating their anguish.

Loss: Developmental, Cultural, and Clinical Realms will appeal to psychoanalysts and psychotherapists both in practice and training from a variety of different backgrounds.

Table of Contents

Ackowledgments;  About the Editors and Contributors;  Introduction;  Part I: Developmental Realm;  1. Normative and Traumatic Loss in Childhood (Ann Smolen);  2. Actual, Inevitable, and Invisible Losses during Adolescence (Jennifer Mariko Neuwalder);  3. Loss during Middle and Old Age (Julian Stern);  Part II: Cultural Realm;  4. Loss in Organizations (Philip Stokoe);  5. The Spectrum of Loss in War-torn Societies (Aleksander Dimitrijevic);  6. A Poetics of Loss (Martina Kolb);  7. Three Movies Focusing on Loss and Bereavement (Salman Akhtar & Beverly Shin);  Part III: Clinical Realm;  8. Loss as the Relational Basis of the Self and the Politics of Mourning (Clara Mucci);  9. Manifestations and Management of Childhood Parental Loss in Adult Patients (Salman Akhtar);  10. Loss, Need, and Omnipotence (Suzanne Benser);  11. Between Diagnosis and Death (Isil Vahip);  12.Therapists’ Reactions to Patients’ Death (Sybil Houlding);  ReferencesIndex

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Salman Akhtar is Professor of Psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College and a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. He has 98 books to his credit and received the prestigious Sigourney Award in 2012.


"This collection of essays addresses the universal challenge of loss, something that none of us escapes in our lives. The editor and contributors elucidate the pain of loss and subsequent mourning states in varied contexts: loss of crucial parts of oneself, loss of love relationships, loss of one’s prized possessions, loss of one’s home, and loss of one’s country. The pre-existing central ideals in this realm are further elaborated and theoretically fine-tuned. This promises the reader a deeper understanding of a crucial human experience ‒ one we encounter at every turn in our work…and in our own lives. This book is well-worth reading." Henri Parens, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Thomas Jefferson University, Training and Supervising Analyst, Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia

"In this wide ranging and comprehensive contribution to psychoanalysis and social science, Salman Akhtar and his contributors highlight the impact of different types of loss: normative, traumatic, actual, inevitable and invisible loss. They extend the scope of loss from individuals to organizations and war ravaged societies. The contributors exemplify their proposals with the help of poignant clinical vignettes, poetry, and powerful cinematic representations of mourning and loss. By fleshing out the important dynamics and multilayered consequences of loss, this book offers the reader an exceptionally rich intellectual and emotional experience. A must read!" Shahrzad Siassi, PhD, Training and Supervising, Newport Psychoanalytic Institute, Faculty Member, New Center for Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles