Separation-Individuation Struggles in Adult life: Leaving Home
focuses on the developmental task of separating from parents and
siblings for individuals and couples who have not been able to
resolve these issues earlier in life. Sarah Fels Usher extends
Mahler's theory, and includes the writing of Loewald and Modell,
among others, stressing the right of adult patients to a separate
life. She describes the predicament of Oedipal victors (or
victims), their introjected feelings of responsibility for their
parents, and their resultant inability to be truly individuated
adults. Difficulties separating from siblings are also given
analytic attention. Usher's experience treating couples adds a new
and powerful dimension to her theory. She is optimistic throughout
about the therapist's ability to help adult patients resolve the
rapprochement sub-phase in a satisfying manner. An additional,
crucial question is raised when the author asks if the therapist
can allow the patient to terminate treatment. Has the therapist
achieved separation from their own parents-or, indeed, from their
analyst? Exploring the plight of patients of the unseparated
analyst, Usher describes how these generational factors rear their
unfortunate heads when it is time to end therapy. Listening to
patients from the perspective of separation-individuation is not
new; what is new is Usher's emphasis on how these particular issues
are often masked by significant achievement in adult professional
life. Separation-Individuation Struggles in Adult Life: Leaving
Home will be of great importance for psychoanalysts and
psychoanalytic psychotherapists working with adults, as well as for
clinical postgraduate students.
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Sarah Fels Usher
||Electronic book text
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