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Ackerman, N.W. (1955). Trends in the Terminal Phase of Student Analysis. Am. J. Psychoanal., 15(2):107-114.

(1955). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 15(2):107-114

Trends in the Terminal Phase of Student Analysis

Nathan W. Ackerman, M.D.

To End or not to end a student analysis? That is the question I When is a student analysis finished? The answer comes hard. The intricacies of student analysis comprise all of the difficulties of ordinary clinical analysis plus those which are unique to the student's position. The discernment of a suitable set of criteria for the termination of the usual clinical analysis is itself no easy accomplishment; it offers a challenge of considerable magnitude. Since the therapeutic emphasis in our age has shifted from symptom analysis to character analysis, the complexities of this challenge are multiplied. Among students, disorders of character take on a special significance. The unique features of student analysis and the necessity of harmonizing the goals of student analysis with the over-all objectives of psychoanalytic training create a whole set of problems of a new order. Thus far, universal standards for the termination of student analysis have not been formulated.

Putting aside formal or quantitative standards, it is safe to assume in our time that each training analyst evolves his own relatively unique criteria for the completion of student analysis. This proposition is easily documented in the spontaneous comments of students reacting to the striking contrasts in judgment of different training analysts in the same institute as they discharge their students from analysis. From one point of view, this high degree of individualization is inevitable. In each such analysis, four variables are involved: the individual training analyst, the individual student, the quality of the relationship which develops between them, and the characteristics of the particular training institute under whose auspices the student analysis is conducted.

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