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Elise, D. (2015). Unraveling: Betrayal and the Loss of Goodness in the Analytic Relationship. Psychoanal. Dial., 25(5):557-571.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 25(5):557-571

Unraveling: Betrayal and the Loss of Goodness in the Analytic Relationship

Dianne Elise, Ph.D.

Betrayal by a trusted other sends shockwaves reverberating not only forward into one’s future but backward into one’s past. One’s personal history is retroactively reconfigured: What has been becomes undone. This paper looks at the loss of the analyst, formerly experienced as a good object, when a felt sense of betrayal intrudes on the analytic relationship and dismantles what has gone before. Such unraveling of goodness is extremely painful in both the loss of the trusted relationship and the assault on one’s confidence in one’s own mind, one’s ability to detect deceit and/or bad faith. How does a patient cope with such an assault on her sense of reality, on her ability to discern falseness in others? How does healing occur, and what is the role of a next analyst in helping a betrayed patient to regain a sense of trust, not only in the object world and the analytic community but in her own mind? When the patient is herself a clinician, what is the impact on her professional identity and how can a new analytic dyad repair such a multilayered rupture?

[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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