A Separation: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

by Judith A. Yanof, MD


A Separation is the 2011 award-winning film by Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi. Set in modern-day Tehran, the film is about an uppermiddle class couple who are separating after 14 years of marriage. The filmmaker gives a nuanced portrayal of the complex dynamics in this family and, in particular, how the struggles of the adults painfully affect their 11-year old daughter, Termeh. A Separation is not formally told through the eyes of the child, however, the film’s action and visual impact create in the audience a set of intense emotional reactions which powerfully convey Termeh’s internal upheaval.

The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 73:1, 172-181, 2020.

Link to Online Publication [fulltext can be requested from the library]

About the Author

Judith A. Yanof, MD, is a Training and Supervising Analyst and Child Supervisor at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. She has written numerous articles on several different aspects of child analysis, including gender, development, transference, termination, and play. In 2012, BPSI awarded her the Arthur Kravitz Award for Community Action and Humanitarian Contributions for her generous and creative efforts to provide programs for early childhood education workers, for consultative work for disadvantaged children and families, and for her work in psychoanalysis and film. For many years she has been an active participant in BPSI’s community program, Off the Couch, and has written many film essays. Click here to watch an interview with Dr. Yanof, recorded in the BPSI library in March, 2019.

Previous Posts:

Elsa Ronningstam et al. (2020). Psychotherapeutic Treatment of Depressive Symptoms in Patients with Narcissistic Disturbances: A Review. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy50, 21–28.

John C. Foehl (2020). Lived Depth: A Phenomenology of Psychoanalytic Process and Identity. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 40(2), 131-146.

Cordelia Schmidt-Hellerau, PhD (2019).Body and Mind: Two Sides of One Coin. The Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 42(1-2), 93-102.

Robin Gomolin, PsyaD (2019). The Intergenerational Transmission of Holocaust trauma: A psychoanalytic theory revisited. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 88(3), 461–500.

Anna Ornstein, MD (2020). Mourning. In The Handbook of Psychoanalytic Holocaust Studies: International Perspectives, edited Ira Brenner. Routledge, 2019, p. 74-80.

Randall H. Paulsen, MD (2019). Scientific Theory on the Couch: A Response to Scott C. Taylor. American Imago, 76(3), 405-411.

Bernard Edelstein, MD (2019). Introduction: Stumbling on our Past, Reflections on James Baldwin’s “My Dungeon Shook”. American Imago, 76(3): 295-300.

Don Lipsitt, MD (2020). Is Today’s 21st Century Burnout 19th Century’s Neurasthenia? The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 207(9): 773-777, September 2019.

Elsa Ronningstam, PhD (2020). Internal Processing in Patients with Pathological Narcissism or Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Implications for Alliance Building and Therapeutic Strategies. Journal of Personality Disorders, 34 (Suppl): 80-103.

Dan Jacobs (2019). Three’s a Crowd: Stella’s Pregnancy and the Arrival of an “Other” in A Streetcar Named Desire. International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies. 16:3, 174– 180.

Click here to see a full archive of featured papers. All articles can be requested from the library.