Skip to main content
Log in

Abstract

This paper is a tale of two immigrants, an analyst and a patient, whose treatment was truncated because he left after ten sessions. The contrast between their different migration experiences and their sharing the same language provided the grounds for an intense therapeutic experience exacerbated by peace demonstrations and changes in immigration policies in the US. Mourning of the loss of the patient was an important piece in the transformation and understanding of the analyst’s own unresolved issues.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions

References

  • Akhtar, S. (1995). A third individuation: Immigration, identity, and the psychoanalytic process. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43(4), 1051–1084. https://doi.org/10.1177/000306519504300406

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Blum, H. P. (2007). Holocaust trauma reconstructed: Individual, familial, and social trauma. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 24(1), 63–73. https://doi.org/10.1037/0736-9735.24.1.63

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Buechler, S. (2000). Necessary and unnecessary losses: The analyst’s mourning. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 36(1), 77–90. https://doi.org/10.1080/00107530.2000.10747046

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Burkhalter, T. (2015). Imagining masculinities through an exilic consciousness. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 16(4): 290-303.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity, politics. and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), 1241–1299.

  • Fanon, F. (2008). Black skin, white masks (R. Philcox, Trans.). Grove Press. (Original work published 1952)

  • Ferenczi, S. (1929). The unwelcome child and his death-instinct. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 10, 125–129

    Google Scholar 

  • Foehl, J. (2008). Follow the fox: Edgar A. Levenson's pursuit of psychoanalytic process. The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 77(4), 1231–1268.

  • Grinberg, L., & Grinberg, R. (1989). Psychoanalytic perspectives on migration and exile. Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gross, T. (Host). (2020, August 4). It’s more that racism: Isabel Wilkerson explains America’s caste system [Audio podcast episode]. In Fresh Air. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2020/08/04/898574852/its-more-than-racism-isabel-wilkerson-explains-america-s-caste-system

  • Holmes, D. (2006). The wrecking effects of race and social class on self and success. The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 75(1), 215-235.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Layton, L. (2006). Racial identities, racial enactments, and normative unconscious processes. The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 75(1), 237–269.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Levenson, E. (1983). The ambiguity of change. Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lijtmaer, R. (2017a). Variations on the migratory theme: Immigrants or exiles refugees or asylees. Psychoanalytic Review, 104 (6), 687–694.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Lijtmaer, R. (2017b). Untold stories and the power of silence in the intergenerational transmission of trauma. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 77(3), 274–284.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Lijtmaer, R. (2022). Social trauma, nostalgia and mourning in the immigration experience. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 82(2), 305–319. https://doi.org/10.1057/s11231-022-09357-8

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Martin, P. (2012). “Grief that has no vent in tears, makes other organs weep.” Seeking refuge from trauma in the medical setting. Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 38(1), 3–21.

  • Odgen, T. (2019). Ontological psychoanalysis or “what do you want to be when you grow up?” The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 88(4), 661–684. https://doi.org/10.1080/00332828.2019.1656928

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ramzy, N. (2007). Intergenerational and transgenerational transmission of hatred and violence: Some psychoanalytic comments for the prevention and amelioration of hatred and violence in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 4(3), 308–309.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Said, E. (1993). Intellectual exile: Expatriates and marginals. Grand Street, 47, 112–124.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wilkerson, I. (2020). Caste: The origins of our discontents. Random House.

  • Winnicott, D. W. (1958). Through paediatrics to psychoanalysis: Collected papers. Basic Books.

  • Winnicott, D. W. (1971). Playing and reality. Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

I want to thank Adrienne Harris and Drew Magidoff for their invaluable contributions to developing and revising this paper, particularly Drew Magidoff for his editorial work.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ruth Lijtmaer.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

On behalf of the author, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

A version of this paper was presented at the IARPP conference ‘Imagining with eyes wide open’, held in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 2019. Address correspondence to Ruth Lijtmaer, PhD, 88 West Ridgewood Ave, Ridgewood, New Jersey, USA.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Lijtmaer, R. Can we imagine a world without walls?. Psychoanal Cult Soc 28, 460–475 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41282-022-00365-2

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41282-022-00365-2

Keywords

Navigation