An Exile in the Room: A Clinical Illustration and a Literary Footnote

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In this article, I describe the case of Dan, an Israeli citizen in his late thirties, born and bred in Argentina. I focus upon some psychological effects of exile as played out and repeated in the transference, leading to an instance of an articulation of his human idiom (Bollas, 1989). During the course of his therapy, through the working of elements in the transference paradigm, it became possible that Dan's existential gloom and despair, accompanied by various physical symptoms, were the traces of the imprints of his exile from Argentine. Those traces were linked to the articulation of deeply buried sensations and once recognized allowed him to explore instances of unresolved mourning. The mourning process thus resumed and allowed him to regain his positive outlook. In conjunction with this, I describe the impact that Julio Cortázar's (1914–1984) posthumously published book, Diary of Andrés Fava (2005), had upon him. The reading of that book served Dan and me as an unconscious object. This object could be represented by Ogden's (2004) term The Analytical Third, and was a part of the therapeutic relationship where he was able to discover, express, and elaborate upon his unique idiomatic sense of self.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-38
Number of pages16
JournalPsychoanalytic Social Work
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • exile
  • idiom
  • literature
  • transference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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