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Kaplan, A. (2017). Man on Wire: Walking the Therapeutically Transformative Tightrope of the Analyst’s Cancer. Psychoanal. Dial., 27(2):218-226.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(2):218-226

Man on Wire: Walking the Therapeutically Transformative Tightrope of the Analyst’s Cancer

Adam Kaplan, Ph.D.

Almost nothing was clear to me when I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I knew that I intended to inform all of my patients about my illness. But how could the focus remain on their needs when my mortality was so at risk? Unexpectedly, I discovered that I coped with my fears most effectively in my office. It was the one place where I could maintain a grasp on a holistic sense of myself and hold conflicting intense emotions. Additionally striking was the corresponding capacity of my patients to remain in treatment while addressing the unpredictable dyadic changes generated by my sickness. In this paper, I address this point of intersubjective transformation—the interactive contributions that generated each treatment’s unique rhythm. I also discuss the temporality of illness and how my continuing reconfigurations of self-experience impacted my ability to maintain authenticity and analytic balance both during and after treatment.

[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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