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Mahon, E. Battin, D. (1981). Screen Memories and Termination of a Psychoanalysis: A Preliminary Communication. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 29:939-942.

(1981). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 29:939-942

Screen Memories and Termination of a Psychoanalysis: A Preliminary Communication

Eugene Mahon, M.D. and Delia Battin, M.S.

THE PRECISE CRITERIA FOR termination of a psychoanalysis are difficult to pinpoint. The topic has aroused much interest in the literature. Some authors focus on symptom relief, others focus on the resolution of the transference neurosis, yet others focus on full recovery of the infantile amnesia or on structural changes. In this preliminary report we do not wish to review the criteria for termination of an analysis. We merely wish to focus our attention on the fate of screen memories toward the end of an analysis. It is our opinion that screen memories at the beginning of analysis are, as the definition implies, screens: They are, as Freud (1899) stated in a brilliant epiphany of scientific discovery, teasing fossils of memory that point the way to the psychological ruins of childhood, but hide more than they reveal.

It is our contention that at the end of an analysis these screens, which were once felt to be highly cathected residues of the past, lose their psychological significance for the well-analyzed patient. A patient in the terminal phase of his analysis senses that these screens have lost their screening function. In simple terms, at the end of a well-conducted analysis, the patient no longer needs his screens. Whereas at the beginning of an analysis the screens are required, at the end they may be treasured and remembered as souvenirs of the analytic journey.

This

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