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I started my psychoanalytic learning and political activism in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was the spring of 1981, a time of turmoil and search for personal and collective freedom. I migrated from Brazil to the United States in 1990 with my husband, daughter, and all twenty-four volumes of the Brazilian edition of the works of Sigmund Freud.

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Letter from Pittsburgh by Miriam DeRiso

Yesterday, my phone rang early in the morning. The voice on the other end of the line whispered, with strain, “I’m sorry. I came home for spring break, and I won’t be returning to Pittsburgh for a while. I don’t know what we can do. Is there anything we can do?”

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Letter from New York by Kate Muldowney

I thought I’d share some thoughts I wrote earlier today. By way of explanation, I started my career as a young social worker at the outset of the AIDS crisis in the United States. These weeks have so reminded me of those early days of AIDS: the fear, terror, and confusion. After working in pediatric HIV in the Bronx for eight years, I was able to travel to visit schools and orphanages in East Africa numerous times. I witnessed firsthand the destruction that HIV…

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Letter from Paris by Julia-Flore Alibert

I would like to share with you my short experience doing video sessions with children from ages four to fifteen during this troubled period. I still work in my office, which is in a part of my home, so they can see me and the office on the video. Most of the children have chosen to continue the therapy. I tell the parents to let their child stay in a quiet room alone…

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Letter from Seattle by Adriana Prengler

In the Seattle suburbs (where I live), people stay at home, as in most cities in the world, except for outings for groceries, to the pharmacy, and for walks or biking on trails. My state (Washington State) has not officially declared a lockdown yet, even though there are many infected and many fatalities, especially among the elderly. As many others have described, I initially consulted with my patients about the possibility of continuing their treatment…

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Letter from Jerusalem by Viviane Chetrit-Vatine

Since last Monday, I have been working by phone, going through my regular schedule. All my patients in analysis are very well and responding to this situation. My patients who were in face-to-face psychotherapy are discovering how speaking on the phone allows them freer expression. But obviously this mean of communication…

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Letter from Bucharest by Daniela Andronache

In Romania, the coronavirus has only sickened less than three hundred (tested) people so far, and nobody has died until today. Our population seems to understand pretty well the recommendations of going out only for strict necessities. And yet, over these last couple of weeks, in the sessions with all my patients, I have begun to immensely appreciate the life experience…

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Letter from San Francisco by Drew Tillotson

It is difficult here in San Francisco. We are officially in “shelter in place” mode, encouraged to remain at home. We expect our situation to be similar to what Italy has gone through. We’re told the onslaught is a matter of time, not if, but when.

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Letter from Lombardy by Pina Antinucci

Hello, everyone, I am writing from Lombardy, and the picture I have is of frightened young people who are impatient to get rid of the obstacles to their self-created lives, because they are afraid of becoming helpless…

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Letter from Krakow by Bartosz Puk

It’s so good to be able to communicate with you on the current difficulties and all the matters concerned with COVID-19. I have been working in my consulting room in Kraków, Poland, for the last week and plan to continue with my patients by telephone or online. I do my best to consider this an opportunity to become closer to my patients. I think we both come into contact with something through the “contact barrier” or thanks to the contact barrier and the virus.

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Letter from Istanbul by Ümit Eren Yurtsever

During the past five days of analysis, I can say that the patients have lost the line between fantasy and reality. They no longer can tell the difference. They have lost the concept of interior and exterior. They say they are living in a home..

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Letter from Bethesda by Marc Nemiroff

The pandemic is terrifying, and I often dissociate intentionally from the danger. It is exhausting to be constantly, unchangingly aware that there is an enemy out there; it is really there. It is invisible. It could kill me and the people I love. Some days, I am on Zoom until my eyes can’t see and my head feels caught between two cymbals, like in an old…

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Letters from Milán, Kassel, London and Warsaw

Dear friends, dear all. I’m from Milan. I’ve been living in isolation since the end of February. Now, it’s almost a month. I’m seeing patients through Skype—all of them, including the one previously on the couch. No direct contact. They pay through the internet as well. Patients are now tired. Some of them are afraid to lose their jobs. Some have already lost them. They do not see the end of this nightmare. Children stopped going to school…

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Letter from Paris by Bernard Chervet

Paris is empty, very empty. Very strange. But it is even possible to feel a beauty in this emptiness! I have never seen Paris this way and in this state. Since Tuesday, we have lived in a complete confinement, “lockdown.” We have to stay inside our houses, without permission to go out. We need a certificate to go out and buy our food.

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Letter from Moscow by Irina Sizikova

I am a psychoanalyst from Moscow. Moscow has become empty. I’ve never seen Moscow in this condition. We now live in uncertainty and isolation. I do not have experience with remote analysis. As of this week, I have needed to reorganize my entire working schedule…

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Letter from Bilbao by Cristina Escudero

Thank you for the valuable ideas you are sharing in this space. I appreciate it so much. It gives me a lot of support to do my job. Thank you for the generosity and time that you are taking now in sharing your experiences. In this post, I want to limit my ideas to the topic of technologies and treatment. Two weeks ago, I found myself in a very different and new scene. As I have had no experience in remote treatment, I have tried to do my best to maintain a psychoanalytical frame…

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Letter from Pittsburgh by William F. Cornell

I am heartened that we have this shared space for the days and weeks ahead. I have been at my office for four days now and have worked with the majority of my clients by phone or Skype, although a significant number have chosen in-person sessions. We have modified our office setting to make this as safe as possible. I feel somewhat fortunate in that part of my practice for some time now has been on the phone or Skype…

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Letter from New York by Michael Diamond

The president stubbornly and arrogantly persists in directing his own personal reality show, which in fact exposes an ongoing assault on reality itself and on the public’s intelligence. Our protests and resistance often situated in the public squares and streets of American cities, large and small, have been taken away…

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Letter from Buenos Aires by Juan Pinetta

It is very interesting how this conversation is holding us all together, for in this state of affairs, our sense of safety is taxed to the limit. Even children who are the age of my daughter are dying. The situation is worrying. So I wonder: What remains of the thinking apparatus in times of catastrophe when we must make catastrophic changes?

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Letter from Jerusalem by Yehuda Fraenkel

The magnitude of emotional load together with ethical and clinical questions puts us in a total “terra incognita” state. I think that the need for coherence in external chaos is indeed universal, yet to us are both a demand and praxis of psychoanalytic practice engaging intrapsychic chaos.

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Letter from Birmingham by Lee Ascherman

There is much to be disturbed about. We are socially isolated while surrounded by reports of death, risk to life by an invisible assailant, and countless tragedies compounded by mismanagement and blame. We are not sure our hospitals will be available to provide care if we or loved ones need it. Compounding all this is an economic crisis of depth and unclear duration.

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Letter from Genoa by Cosimo Schinaia

Some days ago, I received a phone call from a friend of mine who is a doctor of general medicine. He wrote that he appreciated my essay on coronavirus posted on IPA´s website but that it is not too useful for him. The doctors in the hospital and in the medical offices are at risk of falling into a serious burnout…

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Letter from Toronto by Stefania Baresic

As we do the holding for our clients in this time of confinement, accelerated changes, tragic losses, and fear, someone must hold us as well, being a loving partner who offers a hug at the end of day; or we must have a spiritual practice that calms and grounds our breathing or a community like this one, whom I can imagine silently and attentively listening. It has been a difficult two weeks…

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Letter from New York by Joseph A. Cancelmo

The coronavirus pandemic has rocked our world as we knew it, bringing visceral waves of anxiety and fear and unspeakable, unbearable loss in its wake. For many of us, our way of life, our livelihood, our intimacies, and our social connections have been relegated to the phone and the internet—digital lifelines of virtual contact in which the very medium of connection can accentuate the distance, the loneliness.

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Letter from Birmingham by Elizabeth Trawick

My thinking has been simpler, less developed. Yesterday morning, I did three sessions: one phone, two FaceTime. At the end, I was overwhelmed with emotion, struggling to hold myself together. My last patient had her own version of “I’m not accomplishing anything.” I realized that she is working so hard in unrecognized ways: caring for her ninety-four-year-old father when she just remarried a few months ago, needing to social distance from a beloved daughter who is coming to town, having the strength to do this, her own terror and needs for care, etc. The familiar storms that batter us now. I said to her simply…

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Letter from New York by Dinah Mendes

Indulging the hope that we’ll be returning to psychotherapy and psychoanalysis in person and in office in the not too distant future, I wonder what, if anything, I will take away from this new and enforced remote arrangement. Although by the end of the day, my eyes are dry and achy from staring at the screen…

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