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Waugaman, R.M. (2016). The Rupture of Serenity: External Intrusions and Psychoanalytic Technique by Aisha Abbasi Karnac Books, London, 2014; 166 pp; $37.95. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 97(5):1467-1471.

(2016). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 97(5):1467-1471

The Rupture of Serenity: External Intrusions and Psychoanalytic Technique by Aisha Abbasi Karnac Books, London, 2014; 166 pp; $37.95

Review by:
Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

In the introduction to her excellent book, Aisha Abbasi acknowledges that the allusion to ‘serenity’ in her title is an ideal that can never be fully attained. In fact, her book attempts to correct past misconceptions that

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analysis is supposed to take place “in a kind of therapeutic cocoon” (p. xvi), protected from all intrusions. That misguided ideal influenced how earlier clinical reports were written, deleting whatever conflicted with the ‘cocoon’ ideal, unrealistic as it was. Abbasi confronts the reader with a series of unusual intrusions into the analytic situation, reminding us that intrusions are expectable, although they are not always as dramatic as some of her examples. In several of her vignettes, Abbasi's unusual tolerance for her patients’ enactments was rewarded by clinical progress that might not have occurred had she set firmer limits early on.

With the Internet and with greater cultural informality, the analyst's anonymity is not what it used to be. Chapter 1 describes Abbasi's infertility treatment, along with patients’ reactions to it. To her credit, Abbasi realizes in retrospect that her decision to disclose that treatment to her patients was, in part, an unconscious way of “asking them to temporarily suspend being the analytic patients I had asked them to be in the past and instead be reasonable adults who could understand my situation and … have associations that were tolerable to me

[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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