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Torrigiani, M.G. Marzi, A. (2005). When the analyst is physically ill: Vicissitudes in the analytical relationship. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(5):1373-1389.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(5):1373-1389

When the analyst is physically ill: Vicissitudes in the analytical relationship

Maria Grazia Vassallo Torrigiani and Andrea Marzi

Something that happened to one of the authors recently led them to reflect upon what the analyst's falling ill may represent and the problems it may give rise to in the analytic relationship. Such an eventuality injects a massive dose of the analyst's personal reality into the analytic space, thereby allowing the patient a glimpse of images of vulnerability, frailty and loss, and mobilizing emotions, fantasies and defences in both the analyst and the patient. The authors' survey of the literature ranges between two different theoretical perspectives intrapsychic and intersubjective that, in their most radical formulations on technique, call for maintaining either the strictest neutrality and anonymity or symmetrical relationality. In both cases, that which is denied is the unconscious communication that enables the analyst, irrespective of his conscious intentions, to allow either parts of himself or inner objects of the patient to act in the relationship. In closing, the authors shall illustrate the concept discussed through three clinical vignettes.

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