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Awakening the Dreamer by Philip M. Bromberg

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8 One Need Not Be a House to Be Haunted

A Case Study1

One need not be a chamber to be haunted—One need not be a house. Far safer, through an abbey gallop, than unarmed, one's self encounter in a lonesome place. Ourself behind ourself, concealed, should startle most. Assassin hid in our apartment, be horror's least.

—Emily Dickinson, "Poem 670"

What makes Emily Dickinson's imagery seem so right? Why should one part of oneself be terrified of meeting another part in a lonesome place? How does a person come to feel "haunted"? And how does one's sense that another person, one's patient perhaps, is haunted? And what does a therapist do about the patient's haunted feeling, that is, if the patient becomes able to speak of it? Being "haunted" entails ...

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