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Fisher, K. (2020). Forced Endings in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis: Attachment and Loss in Retirement, by Anne Power, published by Routledge, 2016, 260 pages, ISBN: 978-0-415-52765-1 (paperback). Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 14(1):125-127.
(2020). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 14(1):125-127
Forced Endings in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis: Attachment and Loss in Retirement, by Anne Power, published by Routledge, 2016, 260 pages, ISBN: 978-0-415-52765-1 (paperback)
Review by: Karen Fisher
Anne Power's Forced Endings in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis: Attachment and Loss in Retirement is a compassionate and sensitive exploration of the issues around retirement and other imposed endings in psychotherapy. Through interviews with seventeen participants, she draws upon the stories of thirteen retirees who closed their practice permanently, one contributor who closed her practice to relocate, two women on maternity breaks, two therapists who took a sabbatical, and one person who developed an unusual working timetable at the age of sixty.
The featured retirees have an age range of sixty-one to eighty-eight at the point of retiring and their stories are divided into four headings reflecting their reason for retirement: younger (where the decision is led by “pull” factors—for example, the needs of a partner or family, or a wish to pursue their creative interests); older (led by insight into the effects of ageing); classic (where there are “push and pull” factors—a concern to protect their clients from the risks of working with an ageing therapist as well as their desire for an active life in retirement); and forced (where the decision is imposed due to illness or a decline in memory).
In her introduction, Power discusses why retirement matters—in terms of quality control and duty of care—and she observes that age is indeed not a precise indicator of the right time to retire. Some therapists, she observes, can practise well into their late eighties with clarity and wisdom; and yet, if we are not that lucky and are working in older age, it could be that our deep attachment to the work and the meaning it brings could make us reluctant to let go.
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