The Rupture of Serenity: External Intrusions and Psychoanalytic Technique

Author(s) : Aisha Abbasi

The Rupture of Serenity: External Intrusions and Psychoanalytic Technique

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : January 2014
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 192
  • Category :
  • Catalogue No : 33869
  • ISBN 13 : 9781780491950
  • ISBN 10 : 1780491956

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What happens when the outside world enters the psychoanalytic space? In The Rupture of Serenity: External Intrusions and Psychoanalytic Technique, Aisha Abbasi draws on clinical material to describe some of the dilemmas she has encountered in her work with patients when external factors have entered the treatment frame. She considers analytic dilemmas that range from how to deal with patients’ unusual requests regarding the conduct of an analytic treatment to the question of how to handle events in the analyst’s personal life that, by necessity, must be addressed in the analysis. As a Muslim of Pakistani origin, Abbasi is also able to discuss, frankly and with compassion, the role that ethnic and religious differences between patient and analyst can play in treatment—differences that, in the aftermath of 9/11 and the search for and killing of Osama bin Laden, became a palpable presence in her consulting room.

Abbasi also explores the deeper meanings of waiting-room interactions and how analysts can view the entrance of the “iWorld” into the psychoanalytic space: not as an unwelcome third party, but as a tool with great potential. Abbasi shares with us her inner struggles to understand and to keep working analytically. She acknowledges that her ability to do so can be strained when external events give rise to internal destabilization within her. She believes that this type of unexpected internal destabilization within the analyst is not only human and unavoidable, but also necessary—and, frequently, therapeutic. The book is deeply rooted in existing analytic literature and will be a useful resource for clinicians at all levels of education and practice. At the same time, it is written without technical jargon, so that the clinical material that forms the backbone of each chapter will be easily accessible to nonclinicians as well—who will find it to be a moving and lively account of what goes on in a psychoanalyst’s consulting room.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘In observing the ways in which the world of outer actuality invades and shakes the analytic unfolding of one’s inner world, and in doing so with rare clarity and candour, Aisha Abbasi depicts psychoanalysis at its best. Like Vermeer and Chardin, Abbasi is an intimist, bringing the reader into the privacy of her engagement with patients as each uniquely struggles towards insight. The many clinical descriptions are alive with immediacy, exposing the uncertainty, the anguish, and at moments the joy of an analyst at work. As a result, in a stunningly open way, Abbasi reveals how analysis works and her clinical reports are a model for a beginning class on technique or an advanced study group. Analytic principles are all implicitly present, fashionable theories never allowed to intrude. In writing of uncluttered ease and elegance, Abbasi demonstrates the very model of analytic curiosity in the service of the other. Beyond its exploration of external intrusions into clinical work, this work is an admirable contribution to understanding the analytic process. It also is a definite pleasure to read.’
— Warren S. Poland, MD, former editor of JAPA Review of Books; recipient of the 2009 Sigourney Award; and author of Melting the Darkness

‘Psychoanalysis itself could be said to be about ruptures, their containment, and their eventual elaboration within the well-protected space and time of the sessions. Aisha Abbasi gives here a brilliant, detailed and moving account of how she was brought to deal with these crucial aspects of our practice. Psychoanalysis is often said to be closer to art than to science, and this book is a fine example of this: every reader will come out of this rich account with a sense that psychoanalysis is, just like art, an extension and a deepening of the human experience.’
— Dominique Scarfone, MD, training and supervising analyst, Canadian Psychoanalytic Society and Institute; full Professor, University of Montreal; and Associate Editor, The International Journal of Psychoanalysis

‘As a clinician, I found The Rupture of Serenity an extraordinarily valuable book and I recommend it highly for beginners and experienced clinicians alike. With extensive and detailed clinical examples, containing deeply personal revelations and insights, Dr Abbasi provides as intimate an account of the clinical situation as can be found in the clinical literature. Showing exquisite sensitivity to her own and her patients’ traumas and narcissistic vulnerability and their manifestations in symptoms, actions, and enactments, Dr Abbasi helps her patients become acquainted with their hidden hurt and sadism that prevent them from knowing their minds. Dr Abbasi’s clinical descriptions provide examples of what is best in psychoanalysis: a genuinely compassionate and tough-minded analyst who courageously and tenaciously searches for emotional truth in the service of her patients’ healing.’
— Lena Ehrlich, PsyD, training and supervising analyst, Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute and adjunct clinical instructor, Department of Psychiatry, Michigan University Medical School

About the Author(s)

Aisha Abbasi, MD, graduated from Fatima Jinnah Medical College in Lahore, Pakistan. She moved to America with her husband, Aamer, in 1987 and completed a residency in psychiatry at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI. She trained to become a psychoanalyst at the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute, where she is now a Training and Supervising Analyst. She has presented and published on a variety of analytic topics, and is currently co-chair of a discussion group, 'The Birth of an Analysis in the Mind of the Analyst: From Evaluation, to Recommendation, and Beyond,' which convenes annually at the national meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Her collection of Urdu poetry, Ek Dunya Meray Andar Hai (The World Within), was published in Pakistan in 2007 and in America in 2009. She currently lives in West Bloomfield, MI.

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