Bereft Therapist, Grieving Writer

Fall 2011

Writers and analysts share in common the task of interpreting and mediating experience through language. The work of psychotherapy is to understand, contain and help patients, often as they are going through difficult experiences of pain and loss. This is mirrored in the writer’s work as well, where the writing serves to deepen the reader’s appreciation of complex aspects of human experience. This weekend will examine the impact on the analyst and the writer of personal, unexpected loss within or outside of the consulting room. We will explore how therapists and writers process and work through the impact of unanticipated loss, with consideration of how it affects the work we do and, conversely, how our work may help us navigate through these experiences.

ANNE ADELMAN, PHD and Kerry Malawista, PHD


SALMAN AKHTAR is a professor of psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College and Scholar-in-Residence at the Inter-Act Theater Company in Philadelphia. He is the recipient of the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association’s “Best Paper of the Year” Award. Dr. Akhtar’s extensive writing includes Immigration and Identity, the inspiration for the play Parinday (girds), recently broadcast on the BBC. He has published six volumes of poetry in English and Urdu.

JODY BOLZ is a poet and the author of A Lesson in Narrative Time (2004). Her work has appeared in such publications as The American Scholar, Indiana Review, JAMA, Ploughshares, and The Women’s Review of Books – and in many anthologies. She is an editor of Poet Lore, America’s oldest poetry journal.

SANDRA BUECHLER is the author of Clinical Values: Emotions that Guide Psychoanalytic Treatment and Making a Difference in Patients’ Lives: Emotional Experience in the Therapeutic Setting. William Alanson White Institute; Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy.

JILL BIALOSKY is the author of “The History of Suicide,” which has been on the New York Times best sellers list.  “In quietly piercing language, [Bialosky} delivers a sure sense of a “beautiful girl” who took her own life at age 21 and of what it means to grieve such a death, burdened with an awful sense of responsibility that can’t easily be shared with others.  Her collections of poems are Subterranean (Alfred A. Knopf, 2001) and The End of Desire (1997). Bialosky is also the author of the novel House Under Snow (2002) and The Life Room (2007) and co-editor with Helen Schulman, of the anthology Wanting a Child (1998)).  Her poems and essays appear in The New Yorker, O Magazine, Paris Review, The Nation, The New Republic, Kenyon Review, and American Poetry Review among other publications  She is currently an editor at W.W. Norton & Company.