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 has to be good, first of all, for the analyst. Our ease or unease is immediately felt by our patients. Yes, we and our patients are all in the same situation, but we are in an asymmetric position, and our responsibility toward our patients—as well as toward the analytic process and the maintenance of the setting—is ours. We also must be connected with the particular personal benefits we are getting with these analytic encounters and how it may evoke a retraumatization on the part of patients who suffered the kind of narcissistic seduction of “too much love.” Furthermore, the financial question remains, in the actual situation and still more in the middle of the analytic encounter. And once more, this question has to be asked: For the good of whom are these strange meetings? For the patient? For the analyst?
In Israel, we are in nearly full confinement since the beginning of the week. We have still not been invaded by one death but are invaded with the knowledge that it will come, as it has come to every other place. People here are quite disciplined as we are “used” to dealing with wars and great uncertainty. But…we are entering into the end of this week: Friday night. The synagogues are all closed. Everyone is in his or her place. No work. No cars.
Let’s try to breathe!
Shabbat—a Sabbath of internal peace for everyone—and strength, courage, and determination for all those who struggle personally, as parents, as friends, or in hospitals with this virus. Embracing you…and Shabbat Shalom,
Viviane Chetrit-Vatine, PhD, is a training/supervising analyst at the Israel Institute of Psychoanalysis and the Tel Aviv University Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Program. Past president of the Israel Psychoanalytic Society, she has a private practice in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. She is the author of The Ethical Seduction of the Analytic Situation: The Feminine Maternal Origins of Responsibility for the Other (Routledge, 2014).
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