Reflections on the Role of the Analytic Setting in the Light of COVID-19

Saturday 15th May 10:15 - 12:45

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We have all been reflecting individually and collectively within our Institutes on the effects on our work with our patients caused by Covid-19 and the need to move suddenly from the setting of our own consulting rooms to working with patients online or on the telephone. This sudden change and subsequent negotiations about how and when to return have been central preoccupations. This paper will focus on what we can learn from these experiences that can add to the knowledge we have already about the role of the setting in analytic work. Two papers form the foundation stone of the ideas to be developed. First, José Bleger (1967), a South American psychoanalyst, who comments on the ways in which the setting can remain the mute or silent projection carrier for primitive transference projections and affects for some patients that only emerge when there is a sudden change. Second, Alessandra Lemma’s (2014) development of Bleger’s ideas illustrating how the analyst’s body unconsciously represents an embodied feature of the analytic setting. These ideas will be explored from a more Jungian perspective using relevant clinical examples from the time of Covid-19.