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Wieland-Burston, J. (1987). When the doodling stops or the analyst and his/her health. Free Associations, 1(8):115-131.

(1987). Free Associations, 1(8):115-131

When the doodling stops or the analyst and his/her health

Joanne Wieland-Burston

The Question Presents Itself

When I first tried to formulate this question, which today I would call the problem of the tensions present in the analytical hour, this is what it looked like:

I want to reflect on an attitude of physical and psychological relaxation during the analytical hour, a state in which I could just doodle, or let it doodle, as I sometimes do when talking on the telephone to a friend. What I am especially interested in, though, is the moments when this state is interrupted. Many things that come up in an hour can contribute to the development of a kind of tenseness. I am sure that it is important for me to feel this tension — for the sake of the therapy of the analysand — but for me? What can I do with/about it for my sake? Do I have to get stuck with it? How can I deal with it? In other words, is it possible to find a way to allow this tension charge to leave my body again? Is this at all feasible? So many analysts have back problems. Do you just have to bear it, learn to bear it? Or, ‘The aching back—a hazard to be considered in a sedentary profession’.

This little paragraph, written in August 1984 for the Brussels conference of French-speaking Jungians (held in March 1985) was a first grappling with an issue which since then has become more differentiated. The preliminary question has led to many other related questions and to a main, for me burning, question: the role of the body in the work I do.

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