What Happens When the Analyst Dies: Unexpected Terminations in Psychoanalysis, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

What Happens When the Analyst Dies

Unexpected Terminations in Psychoanalysis, 1st Edition

Edited by Claudia Heilbrunn


312 pages

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pub: 2019-07-22
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What Happens When the Analyst Dies explores the stories of patients who have experienced the death of their analyst. The book prioritizes the voices of patients, letting them articulate for themselves the challenges and heartache that occur when grappling with such a devastating loss. It also addresses the challenges faced by analysts who work with grieving patients and/or experience serious illness while treating patients.

Claudia Heilbrunn brings together contributors who discuss their personal experiences with bereavement and/or serious illness within the psychoanalytic encounter. Chapters include memoirs written by patients who describe not only the aftermath of an analyst’s death, but also how the analyst’s ability or inability to deal with his or her own illness and impending death within the treatment setting impacted the patient’s own capacity to cope with their loss. Other chapters broach the challenges that arise 1) in ‘second analyses’, 2) for the ill analyst, and 3) for those who face the death of an analyst or mentor while in training.

Aiming to give prominence to the often neglected and unmediated voices of patients, as well as analysts who have dealt with grieving patients and serious illness, What Happens When the Analyst Dies strives to highlight and encourage discussion about the impact of an analyst’s death on patients and the ways in which institutes and therapists could do more to protect those in their care. It will be of interest to psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, counselors, gerontologists, trainees, and patients who are currently in treatment or whose therapist has passed away.


"No one likes to think about death, despite (or perhaps) because it is unavoidable. That has meant that although it intrudes into all our professional lives, psychoanalysts have not covered it in the literature anywhere near as much as would be helpful. What Happens When the Analyst Dies is an important step forward in providing thoughtful reflection and tools enabling analysts to engage in a far more practical way with the various effects of the death of analysts. I strongly recommend this book."-Brent Willock, Founding President, Toronto Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis; Board Member, Canadian Institute for Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy; Faculty, Institute for the Advancement of Self Psychology; Advisory Board, International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

Table of Contents

Preface Claudia Heilbrunn Introduction Claudia Heilbrunn Part I: Patients I.I Illness and Death within the Context of Long-Term Treatments 1. Disappearing Shrinks Claudia Heilbrunn 2. Unfinished Business: The Impact of Denial on the Grieving Process Jennifer Grant I.II Sudden Death 3. The Art of Grief Rachel Brandoff 4. Monumental Losses, Monumental Gifts: Analysand and Analyst Mourn the Death of an Analyst and Friend Vanessa Hannah Bright and Merle Molofsky I.III Inconsolable Grief and Recovery Following the Death of a Young Analyst 5. Birth Interrupted Lynn Jacobs 6. Re-finding A Way Lynn Jacobs I.IV Making Room for Death within the Treatment Setting 7. After the First Death, There is No Other Maria Walker 8. The Gift of Goodbye and the Invisible Mourner Iris Hellner Part II: Practitioners II.I. The Post-Death Analyst 9. Defenses, Transferences, and Symbolism after an Analyst’s Death Jerome Blackman 10. A Patient’s and Analyst’s Self-experiences with Shared Loss David Baucher II.II. The Ill Analyst: Coping with Illness and Picking up Pieces 11. The Analyst’s Illness from the Perspectives of Analyst and Patient Therese Rosenblatt 12. Experiences of a Bereaved and Suffering Second Therapist: Replacing a Beloved Student Therapist and a Gay Psychoanalyst Hendrika Vande Kemp.III. Psychoanalytic Institutes and Training 13. Death Begets Growth Catherine Lowry 14. Hidden Illness Nancy Einbinder Epilogue Claudia Heilbrunn

About the Editor

Claudia Heilbrunn, LP, is a psychoanalyst at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, New York City, USA, where she received her analytic training.

About the Series

Psychoanalysis in a New Key Book Series

When music is played in a new key, the melody does not change, but the notes that make up the composition do: change in the context of continuity, continuity that perseveres through change. Psychoanalysis in a New Key publishes books that share the aims psychoanalysts have always had, but that approach them differently. The books in the series are not expected to advance any particular theoretical agenda, although to this date most have been written by analysts from the Interpersonal and Relational orientations.

The most important contribution of a psychoanalytic book is the communication of something that nudges the reader’s grasp of clinical theory and practice in an unexpected direction. Psychoanalysis in a New Key creates a deliberate focus on innovative and unsettling clinical thinking. Because that kind of thinking is encouraged by exploration of the sometimes surprising contributions to psychoanalysis of ideas and findings from other fields, Psychoanalysis in a New Key particularly encourages interdisciplinary studies. Books in the series have married psychoanalysis with dissociation, trauma theory, sociology, and criminology. The series is open to the consideration of studies examining the relationship between psychoanalysis and any other field – for instance, biology, literary and art criticism, philosophy, systems theory, anthropology, and political theory.

But innovation also takes place within the boundaries of psychoanalysis, and Psychoanalysis in a New Key therefore also presents work that reformulates thought and practice without leaving the precincts of the field. Books in the series focus, for example, on the significance of personal values in psychoanalytic practice, on the complex interrelationship between the analyst’s clinical work and personal life, on the consequences for the clinical situation when patient and analyst are from different cultures, and on the need for psychoanalysts to accept the degree to which they knowingly satisfy their own wishes during treatment hours, often to the patient’s detriment.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / General
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health