The loss of your psychoanalyst or therapist can be very similar to the loss of a close friend or family member. Those who are dealing with this type of loss may be surprised to realize that they are experiencing the same types of feelings that were felt with the loss of a family member. They may begin progressing through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and lastly, acceptance.
One of the best approaches is to begin the process to locate another therapist, either by referral from the current practice or word of mouth. This can very difficult as it means establishing such an intimate relationship anew. The new therapist can assist with the important progression through the stages and will help to deal with any feelings that might come up in the mean-time. Many times, individuals who have experienced the loss of a therapist experience feelings of abandonment. The new therapist can assist with processing this feeling as well.
Another way to deal with these feelings of loss is to attempt to contact the other clients to determine if there is an interest in meeting to talk about the loss. People who have never been in therapy have a difficult time understanding the closeness that develops between a therapist and a client and may not be very helpful in this situation. It may be difficult to obtain the identities of the other clients, but asking the practice to post a notice of a meeting time and place may help without revealing any private information. If this is impossible, the internet is a good resource to locate groups in similar situations. People may not realize how deeply the loss of a psychoanalyst may affect them, but recognizing that this loss is similar to other types of losses is one of the first steps in the healing process.