Case of the Week - N° 17: The therapist’s inner conversation in a time of Israeli war

Submitted by Joke on Feb 19, 2018 in Case of the Week

Case of the Week - N° 17: The therapist’s inner conversation in a time of Israeli war

Our case of the week provides a very interesting description of the therapist’s inner conversation during the therapy with two different Israeli clients.

The context of both therapeutic processes is a time of war with several attacks very close to the therapy room. In one specific session, the therapist and client both wear a gas mask. At a certain point in time during the two therapies, the therapeutic relationship gets stuck. The therapist, who is the author of the paper, tries to grasp the reason for the therapeutic impasse. His inner conversation recognizes a fear for the war (and the effects of the war on his family for instance). Being able to acknowledge and disclose these anxious feelings and the dualities accompanying them (e.g., the question whether he would save the patient or go to his family when an attack would happen within the building; the question why the patient does not experience the same level of fear as him), opened up new therapeutic space. It enabled the therapist to sympathize with some very specific thoughts, fears and feelings of the patient. This eventually created therapeutic change. The therapist describes this process as ‘detoxification’.

The case is interesting as it nicely demonstrates the concept of “mutual projective identification’, meaning that therapist and patient are two organs of one psychic entity. It is one of the cases where the therapist’s inner thoughts and feelings are clearly present.

Here you can find link to the case in our Archive (registration is required):


To find our previous cases of the week, go to  


Warm greetings,  

The SCA team  


self-disclosure, inner conversation, war, mutual projective identification,