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Meyer, M.A. (1924). Interpretation of a Phantasy Concerning the Duration of Psycho-Analytic Treatment. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 5:86-87.

(1924). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 5:86-87

Interpretation of a Phantasy Concerning the Duration of Psycho-Analytic Treatment

Monroe A. Meyer

Patients who have been undergoing psycho-analytic treatment for a varying period of time usually prove to have harboured a definite estimate of the duration of treatment in their minds from the very outset, or to have formed some such notion during the course of the analysis. The usual belief voiced is to the effect that the treatment must last nine months, and analysis of this idea regularly reveals an underlying gestation phantasy as responsible. In the case briefly reported in this communication, the patient formed a time estimate differing from the typical one of nine months. Analytic investigation of his thoughts on the subject disclosed an interesting unconscious determinant.

The patient, a Jewish male, 35 years of age, began one of his analytic hours with the statement that he felt his analysis must needs be drawing to a close, for, as he said, the eleventh month of the treatment was about to end, and this impressed him as being exactly the proper length of time for any psycho-analysis. It was evident, however, that he was not entirely convinced of the validity of his opinion, for he begged the analyst for either confirmation or denial of his conclusion. Neither the one nor the other being given, the patient produced the following enlightening material.

He first mentioned the curious fact that, just as he was leaving the analytic hour of the day previous, the words of the Kaddish (a Hebrew prayer recited in memory of dead parents) ran through his mind. This transitory compulsive symptom puzzled him very much.

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