chapter  24
14 Pages

“We’re in This Too”: The Effects of 9/11 on Transference, Countertransference, and Technique: Nancy R. Goodman, Harriet I. Basseches, Paula L. Ellman, and Susan S. Elmendorf


A few days after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, we decided to begin a study of our reactions, our patients’ reactions, and the way we worked therapeutically at this time of terror. We were at a meeting together looking out a window over the city of Washington, D.C., remarking at the beauty of the monuments and the horror of the destruction and deaths at the Pentagon. We spoke about fears of what else could happen here in the Capital. We had a personal need to believe there was a place to think and feel and discover and set out to do so. Our own psyches were steadied at knowing we could reŠect on our psychoanalytic work at this time and planned to meet regularly. We had previously collaborated in study group explorations of psychoanalytic listening (Goodman et al., 1993) and female development (Basseches et al., 1996; Fritsch et al., 2001). We now see our activity as the creation of a witnessing group. We formed a type of Anti-Train (Chapter 3), a place of Anti-Trauma to help live with the terror outside and inside each of us and our patients. Most of all, we knew we could be better therapists when our fears were being held and contained through the group endeavor.