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Print version ISSN 2359-0769On-line version ISSN 2359-0777


EMRICH, Fernanda Caiado G.  and  LIMA, Priscilla Melo Ribeiro de. Helplessness in the ICU: A Psychoanalytic Analysis of the Experience of Patients at a University Hospital. Rev. Subj. [online]. 2021, vol.21, n.2, pp.1-12. ISSN 2359-0769.

Helplessness has always been a central theme to psychoanalysis, to which Freud devoted himself in texts such as "The malaise in civilization" (1930/1996e) and "The future of an illusion" (1927/1996c), so based on this concept, we carried out qualitative research with patients admitted to an Intensive Care Unit of a university hospital. The helplessness and drive entanglement, helplessness and religiosity, helplessness and finitude, and helplessness and transience categories were analyzed from the psychoanalytic theoretical framework using the content analysis method. The analysis allowed us to think of admission to intensive care as an experience of (re)updating the initial helplessness that demands from the subject-patient and the psychologist/psychoanalyst to deal with issues that go back to castration and finitude. Faced with the threat to life and the sources of suffering highlighted by Freud, the hospitalized subject makes use of some palliative measures to try to alleviate their anguish: religiosity, attachment to family memories, reflection on their own life, and fantasies about the return home.

Keywords : psychoanalysis; ICU; helplessness; anguish; death; hospital psychology.

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