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Yakeley, J. (2020). Editorial. Psychoanal. Psychother., 34(1):1-3.

(2020). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 34(1):1-3


Jessica Yakeley

I write this editorial as we are slowly emerging out of lockdown in London, horrified by the ravages of Covid-19 and realising how lucky I am with sustained employment in the NHS but not exposed to the life-threatening risks endured by those working at the frontline, some of whom have sacrificed their lives for their patients. Others working at this interface between life and death have been deeply traumatised by their experiences and find themselves disoriented and vulnerable as they allow their defences, which have been mobilised to protect them from being overwhelmed by the fear, pain, guilt and exhaustion of their endeavours to save the lives of others, to abate but then find themselves without a container in which these anxieties can be processed. Hence, the rapid wave of reflective practice forums, such as Balint groups, that have been offered by many psychotherapy services in the last three months to these frontline professionals, which they have eagerly accepted, generating requests for more of these interventions which create protected spaces to reflect upon and share their distressing and disturbing experiences with the help of psychotherapists and psychotherapeutically informed clinicians.

Although the first paper in this volume (the issue’s release in hard copy having been delayed in part due to the pandemic), ‘Psychic room to breathe. Themes emerging within a staff Balint group on an eating disorder inpatient unit’, by Dimitrios Chartonas, Anneka John-Kamen, Robert Freudenthal and Rachel Gibbons, was written before the outbreak, its subject matter is relevant in that it describes the benefits of a Balint group for staff working on an in-patient eating disorder unit with a patient population who also hover on the border between living and dying.

[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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