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Shane, E. (2002). The Transformative Effects of Separation and Divorce on Analytic Treatment. Psychoanal. Inq., 22(4):580-598.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 22(4):580-598

The Transformative Effects of Separation and Divorce on Analytic Treatment

Estelle Shane, Ph.D.

This Paper is about how an Experience of Profound Loss and the special circumstances that surrounded it necessitated changes in my work with patients as well as changes in my understanding of myself. I want to write this paper partly because I've always found it helpful professionally when colleagues tell clinical stories about unusual circumstances in their practices. In the same way, I hope that what I have discovered and reflected upon in my clinical work will prove useful to others in the field. Perhaps as important, in the past I have found writing about the pain and stress of a traumatic event to be a healing and restorative process for myself. Nevertheless, writing this paper is difficult. What I am about to describe is so intensely personal to me that I'm not sure I could have attempted it were it not for a quotation of John Bowlby's (1990) that I came across which seems to have provided the encouragement, and the courage, that I needed. He wrote: “When people start writing they think they've got to write something definitive…. I think that is fatal. The mood to write in is: ‘This is quite an interesting story I've got to tell. I hope someone will be interested. Anyway, it's the best I can do for the present.’

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