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Schafer, R. (2002). The Psychotherapist's Absence. Psychoanal. Psychol., 19(1):50-64.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 19(1):50-64

The Psychotherapist's Absence

Roy Schafer, Ph.D.

Patients construct many different fantasies about their therapists' absences. Some of these absences are not actual physical absences but rather psychical absences when the therapist is present in body. Also, the therapist's physical absence need not imply that she or he is psychically absent for the patient. Patients, too, can be present and absent in these various ways. This article surveys these phenomena and interpretations and also considers the part played by countertransference in these developments. Therapeutic processes are enhanced by careful exploration of these developments.

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