At the beginning of the analysis, it became clear that J resided in a very dark place, well hidden from any form of aliveness. Their attachment to me felt parasitical and searching for aliveness in me, but the result was the opposite: I often felt blanked out, deadened. It was as if I had been infected with a tranquiliser, rendering me paralysed and unable to stay (conscious) or leave (act freely). The room at times felt airless with an insufferable stench of something dead and decaying forever. It soon resembled their home, hoarded rubbish and living amongst rotten food. Dead and rotting though this space was, it nevertheless provided a perverse form of safety and a psychic retreat from continued failure in a litany of broken relationships. This is as mentioned a perverse form of safety for most patients when entering analysis. The key to this ‘psychic retreat’ is to entre it with care and gentleness but to live it with the patient. This is to know the patient.