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Phillips, J. (2008). Good Goodbyes: Knowing How to End in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. By Jack Novick and Kerry Kelly Novick. Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson, 2006, 149 pp., $34.95.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 56(1):330-336.
  

(2008). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 56(1):330-336

Good Goodbyes: Knowing How to End in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. By Jack Novick and Kerry Kelly Novick. Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson, 2006, 149 pp., $34.95.

Review by:
Jay Phillips

The authors begin with a review of the literature on termination, exposing it as thin, disturbing in many of the examples it provides, and unhelpful to the practitioner in approaching cases. They describe the approach most associated with the writings of Brenner, which emphasizes the responsibility of the analyst to decide when the patient is ready for termination, and then present examples of cases from Firestein's book (1978) that document poor outcomes using that approach. They trace these practices from the pioneers of psychoanalysis, beginning with Freud, especially forced termination and postanalytic contact. In their approach the primary goal of psychoanalytic treatment is choice. A successful treatment will provide patients “a genuine choice about how to live their lives” (p. 7). Their scheme for providing this choice through a well-terminated treatment has a conceptual foundation based on several lines of their published work. One is their work on sadomasochism, in which they identify the central role of unconscious fantasies of omnipotent control of self and others as a strategy for warding off psychic pain. They discern two systems in mental life for regulating internal states, one “open” and one “closed.”

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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