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Bridge, M. (2013). Moving Out - Disruption and Repair to the Internal Setting. Brit. J. Psychother., 29(4):481-493.

(2013). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 29(4):481-493

Moving Out - Disruption and Repair to the Internal Setting

Marie Bridge

Relocation can profoundly disturb the analyst's identity. When the analyst temporarily forgoes aspects of the external frame this can damage the internal setting. The author describes her experience of relocating from London to another English region where there were very few potential colleagues. Although papers exist on the impact of relocation on the patient, very little has been written on the impact of relocating on the analyst. The author links a relatively minor relocation with larger scale migration and with the leaving home of an adolescent, both representing trauma as well as achievement, as discussed in particular by the Grinbergs. She explores how the meaning of relocation differs from other circumstances in which the analyst disrupts the analysis. She distinguishes between guilt towards the patients she has to leave and shame and guilt in relation to the analyst's own ideals. She discusses the impact of this turmoil on her internal analytic identity, in particular how the loss of the familiar external frame and the external setting disturbs the analyst's internal setting. Clinical examples illustrate patients' unconscious perception of the disruption to the internal frame and its possible meanings for the analyst. Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is used as an extended metaphor to explore the risk of grandiosity, or corruption of the superego, if the analyst becomes isolated and internally dislocated, so losing contact with sustaining internal objects.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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