Loss, Grief and Transformation The Therapist’s Personal Experience in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis
This book is a timely and relevant book for psychotherapists and psychoanalysts who process loss both in their own lives and in the lives of their patients, offering perspectives from a range of theoretical backgrounds, clinical vignettes and personal insights.
This volume addresses the scope of grief and mourning between the therapeutic dyad, and carefully examines how the patient and therapist experience intersect and imbue the analytic space and the therapeutic process. The book examines personal loss of parents and partners, as well as loss generated by mass trauma through the lens of the Holocaust, the immigrant experience, the COVID-19 pandemic and the environment. There are chapters that cover how the lost other continues to live within one’s mind, and within the analytic relationship, how loss impacts one’s internal self system, and how loss associated with traumatic experience with the deceased continues to reverberate.
With a unique focus on the therapist’s personal experience of loss, and how it shapes the clinical situation, as well as a broad range of perspectives on managing and working with loss in patients, this is an invaluable book for all practicing psychoanalysts and psychotherapists.
Part I: In the shadow of suicide and the struggle to exist 1. Shubin, Michelle: Living to die, dying to live: another look at suicidality 2. Agostini, Nicoletta: Loss, trauma and self-disclosure: working with dreams and imagination Part II: Loss, legend, and companioning through art and poetry 3. Loumeau-May, Laura: "Vas où je vais, Chiron! Va! Va! Va!"; Disclosure, vulnerability, engagement 4. O’Toole, Michael: Finding a voice: Loss and grief in an Irish context 5. Mehr-Afarin Kohan: On the state of "speechlessness": When grief cannot speak Part III: Going beyond the frame: The therapist’s humanity during the COVID-19 pandemic 6. Cornell, William: In the shadows of loss: Manic defences in the face of absence 7. Ringel, Shoshana: On being an orphan: radical transparency and mutual mourning Part IV: Mothers, daughters, and the therapist’s subjectivity 8. Arad, Hemda: On being lost and found: Where patient and analyst subjectivities converge 9. Hershberg, Sandra: Mothering a child with a visible facial difference: The gaze of the other and the gaze of the mother Part V: Reaching out through psychic devastation and the loss of meaning 10. Gerhardt, Julie: The traumatic no man’s land of devastation: Beyond mourning and melancholia 11. Pillsbury, Sarah: Mutual empathy: Imagined symbol and realization in the treatment of trauma Part VI: Global perspectives on loss, COVID-19, and the environment 12. Wright, Sue: Facing the loss of the known world: Personal reflections on life in a pandemic
'Loss, Grief and Transformation is a gripping collection of essays. Ringel has carefully assembled contributors whose personal, vitally alive and clinically attuned work demonstrates the power of deeply intersubjective treatment. These writers, whose backgrounds are international and whose lives have been marked by immigration, exile, loss, and grief join their patients in their pain, sorrow and ultimately transformations of their losses and themselves. Often we learn of parallel, deeply symmetrical experiences that uncannily exist for patient and therapist and how careful self-disclosures have enhanced the work. The impact of COVID and the multiple aspects of loss it has brought about – isolation, long separations and at times death, is an additional thread in many of these chapters adding to the gravity we all have experienced. This is an important book for clinicians to read, savor and learn from.'
Jill Salberg, Ph.D., Faculty and Supervisor NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. Editor of Good Enough Endings: Breaks, Interruptions and Terminations from Contemporary Relational Perspectives and of Psychoanalytic Credos: Personal and Professional Journeys of Psychoanalysts
'This is a timely and deeply moving addition to our psychoanalytic literature. Written by an international group of authors, these thoughtful and emotionally compelling essays are organized around themes of loss and grief. Moving between the personal and the professional, the multiple arenas in which loss appears are unpacked and described. Some chapters are deeply personal, others include an exploration of the collective and the political, including the impact of the pandemic. Together they provide the reader with a timely, thought provoking and enormously satisfying read.'
Joyce Slochower, Ph.D., ABPP, Professor Emerita of Psychology at Hunter College & the Graduate Center, CUNY; faculty, NYU Postdoctoral Program, Steven Mitchell Center, National Training Program of NIP, Philadelphia Center for Relational Studies; PINC in San Francisco
'This groundbreaking, useful volume speaks to the unspeakable topic of loss and grief, augmenting psychoanalytic thinking by including diverse theoretical and cultural perspectives. In this collection of essays, Ringel has widened the scope of loss to include environmental, societal and interpersonal factors. Most unique is the emphasis on the use of the clinician’s personal experience with loss as a point of connection and as part of the therapeutic action. A variety of skills and tools are described enabling readers to conceptualize coaxing transformation from the darkness of grief. The Covid 19 pandemic is woven throughout giving the book hefty relevance.'
Hillary Grill, LCSW, Faculty and Supervisor, National Institute for the Psychotherapies, Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center and Institute for Expressive Analysis; Executive Editor, Psychoanalytic Perspectives
'This diverse collection of papers, revolving around a broad conception of loss and grief, vividly illustrates the profound impact of these varied sources of psychic pain in the lives of both therapists and their patients. The clinical narratives in this volume bring sharp focus to the complex intersubjectivity that can emerge when these losses are awakened and interact in the life of the treatment, granting the reader a close perch from which to view the therapeutic processes that unfold and the healing potential within them.'
Martin Stephen Frommer, Ph.D., Faculty, Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center, Associate Editor, Psychoanalytic Dialogues