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Levenson, L.N. (1998). Superego Defense Analysis in the Termination Phase. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(3):847-866.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(3):847-866

Superego Defense Analysis in the Termination Phase

Lawrence N. Levenson

This paper is a contribution to recent efforts to identify areas in clinical theory and practice in which the analyst's authority is used, rather than analyzed, to achieve therapeutic results. In the termination phase there may occur an intensification of transferences of authority (superego transferences) in response to the aggression inherent in termination. Analysts may develop counterresistances to analyzing these defense transferences, since their analysis exposes the analyst to the patient's heightened aggression at termination. The literature on termination may have contributed to analysts' falling short in analyzing these transferences, by its having accorded internalizing mechanisms a prominence in the therapeutic action of termination that they otherwise lack in contemporary ego psychological theories of therapeutic action. Gray's formulation of the superego as an analyzable defensive activity is applied to events in the termination period, thereby bringing into focus conflicts over aggressive impulses defended against by superego forces. Clinical vignettes from the termination phase of an analysis are presented.

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