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The Melody of Separation

A Psychoanalytic Study of Separation Anxiety

Sylvia Zwettler-Otte

Separation anxiety is a companion of human beings from birth to death and plays an essential role in the normal as well as in the pathological development of individuals. It is decisive for the way we are coping with loss and for our anxious or trustful engagement in relationships. With manifest and latent forms of separation anxiety we try to escape the pain of separation. This psychoanalytic study describes diverse reactions to separations and their vicissitudes, like flight, denial, depression, narcissistic withdrawal, psychosomatic symptoms etc. But also constructive, creative ways of dealing with separation are presented, like an acknowledgement of transience, the development of creativity and the capacity of mourning.
Contents: Psychoanalytic bases – The danger of loss and our split knowledge of transience – Daily exercises in losing objects – Separation as achievement – Separation and old age – Separation anxiety in the psychotherapeutic process – Separation and creativity: experiencing and creating art.