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McLaughlin, J.T. Johan, M. (1985). Reanalysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 33:187-200.

(1985). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 33:187-200


James T. McLaughlin, M.D. and Morton Johan, M.D.

IN HIS INTRODUCTORY REMARKS the Chairman noted that reanalysis is a familiar part of our analytic experience. Yet it remains an uncommon subject for discussion in our literature. A panel devoted to the topic is important insofar as it calls attention to a neglected source of information about psychoanalytic outcome. Detailed study of the data from reanalysis can shed light on the nature of the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis and enrich the current cross-sectional studies of analytic outcome.

As a baseline for the panel discussion McLaughlin suggested adhering to the definition of reanalysis as an analysis that follows an earlier successful piece of adult analytic work. For ease of discussion, and to avoid side issues, no case whose first analysis had been in childhood or adolescence would be considered by the panel.

Adatto's paper, "Some Observations Regarding Reanalysis," centered in a clinical vignette of a man 10 years older than himself who came for reanalysis. The patient had completed an analysis in another city about 15 years earlier. The first analysis, of six years' duration, was undertaken for depression complicated by severe somatic symptoms. The patient reported that his first analysis had changed his life. He had been practically freed from his symptoms, became productive in and enjoyed his work. He had divorced his wife, remarried, and distanced himself from his tyrannical mother.

About three months before coming to Adatto, the patient had received one of the highest prizes offered in his field. At first he was elated, but then was puzzled when he felt ashamed to tell his children. Shortly afterward, he became ill.

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