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.
About the Author:
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.