Claudia HeilbrunnJan 19, 2022
What Happens When the Analyst Dies
Unexpected Terminations in Psychoanalysis
What Happens When the Analyst Dies: Unexpected Terminations in Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2019) 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.
Christopher Russell is a Psychoanalyst in Chelsea, Manhattan.