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Impert, L. Rubin, M. (2011). The Mother at the Glen: The Relationship Between Mourning and Nostalgia. Psychoanal. Dial., 21(6):691-706.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 21(6):691-706

The Mother at the Glen: The Relationship Between Mourning and Nostalgia

Laura Impert, L.C.S.W. and Margaret Rubin, Ph.D.

This paper explores the relationship between nostalgia and mourning. Nostalgia has generally been used in the literature to describe pathological and defensive maneuvers that serve to disavow mourning. Although we are aware of the need for defensive nostalgia in times of overwhelming grief, we are primarily interested in how mourning is often evoked through nostalgic memories. We examine the sensory dimension of nostalgia, specifically our bodily based emotional experiences that take the form of felt embodied memories. Played out in the treatment setting, these unbidden sensory experiences frequently awaken past memories in each member of the analytic dyad, giving way to new affect states and, for the patient, an opportunity for rewriting old narratives. We examine Marcel Proust's “celestial nourishment” as well as evocative objects and memorials that we use to contain our grief. The clinical implications of mourning and nostalgia are traced in case materials using the intersubjective communications between both analyst and patient, hopefully demonstrating the use of this rich material in the treatment setting.

[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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