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Falkenström, F. Grant, J. Broberg, J. Sandell, R. (2007). Self-Analysis and Post-Termination Improvement After Psychoanalysis and Long-Term Psychotherapy. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 55(2):629-674.

(2007). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 55(2):629-674

Research Section: Original Paper

Self-Analysis and Post-Termination Improvement After Psychoanalysis and Long-Term Psychotherapy

Fredrik Falkenström, Johan Grant, Jeanette Broberg and Rolf Sandell

Long-term follow-up studies of long-term psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy or psychoanalysis are extremely rare, and few have focused on the post-treatment process itself. In the Stockholm Outcome of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy project, one of the results was that patients in psychoanalysis continued to improve after termination to a higher degree than patients in long-term psychotherapy. In this study 20 patients selected from the project were interviewed on two occasions, one and two years after termination, in order to explore how they described their post-treatment processes. The interviews were studied qualitatively using a multiple case study design, and categories of different types of post-treatment development were created from these case studies. Results indicate that the variation within treatment groups is large, and that development may continue in several ways after termination. The most striking difference between psychoanalysis and psychotherapy was not, as hypothesized, in the self-analytic function, but in various self-supporting strategies described by former analysands but not by former psychotherapy patients. However, only self-analysis was significantly correlated with post-termination improvement across both treatments. Three patients improving after termination and three deteriorating are described in detail as illustrations. Some methodological constraints of the design limit the generalizeability of results.

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