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Balint, M. (1950). On the Termination of Analysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 31:196-199.

(1950). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 31:196-199

On the Termination of Analysis

Michael Balint


The criteria for termination can be classified under many possible headings. From among these I have chosen three, not only because they appear to me important, but mainly because I have studied them more closely than the others. The first heading is that of instinctual aims. That means a firmly established genital primacy, the capacity to enjoy full genital satisfaction, i.e. mature genitality. I wish to point out that I mean more than a simple sum-total of all the component sexual instincts; mature genitality is in my opinion a new function emerging about puberty, possibly as the result of a 'natural process' such as I tried to describe in 'Eros and Aphrodite'.

The second group of criteria can be summed up under the heading: relation to instinctual objects. I dealt with this topic in a recent paper: 'On Genital Love'. The gist of my thesis is that genital love is definitely not a natural, spontaneous process but an artefact—the result of civilization (or of education)—a complex fusion of genital satisfaction and pre-genital tenderness; its psychological expression is genital identification with the object based on an exacting reality testing, and its aim the changing of an indifferent or even reluctant object into a loving and co-operating genital partner.

The third group of criteria can be summed up under the heading: structure of the ego. The ego must be strong enough to cope with tensions caused— inter alia —by: (a) the use of alloplastic instead of autoplastic methods for dealing with reality; (b) the acceptance of unpleasant ideas; (c) the sudden increase of excitement before and during an orgasm; (d) maintaining the genital identification with the partner even in phases of temporary dissatisfaction; etc.

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