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Tsolas, V. (2019). The Shadowing of the Object: A Case of Abrupt Departure in the Analytic Process. DIVISION/Rev., 19:42-44.

(2019). DIVISION/Review, 19:42-44

The Shadowing of the Object: A Case of Abrupt Departure in the Analytic Process

Vaia Tsolas, Ph.D.

When Persephone came to see me, I knew I was dealing with a goddess. Her last name betrayed her background and family history. I was curious, though, to meet the person behind the name and public image. To my surprise, she entered my office not as a goddess, but rather as a scared animal, who had to survey and conquer new territory, as if being threatened to be devoured by a lioness.

She told me about her ambivalent separation from a long-term boyfriend whom she could not completely leave behind, opting instead to come and go between her mother's house and his. She spoke of needing my help to find her own inner place, her own “home,” where she could finally begin the life she imagined for herself. Panic and depression were her long-term companions in life. She had something to say about the origin of these feelings. She sobbed when she spoke about not getting enough from her mother and about her self-hatred in comparing herself to sisters favored by her parents.

Her gaze was intense, and I felt relieved when Persephone began to use the couch after our initial consultations. “I like the couch because I can look inward instead of responding to you,” she said.

She was eager to start analysis, to dig into herself to find what made her run away from the sense of her own being, her creativity, and her “vocation” in life. As a painter, she felt embarrassed about her paintings when she compared her art to that of her father, a celebrated film director.

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