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Payne, S. (1950). Short Communication on Criteria for Terminating Analysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 31:205-205.

(1950). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 31:205-205

Short Communication on Criteria for Terminating Analysis

Sylvia Payne

The criteria for the termination of psychoanalytical treatment are usually drawn up on the assumption that there is one pattern of human psychological development at which it is best to aim. It is not possible when the case of an individual is considered to take a fixed model as the ideal to be aimed at, because of the variety of factors connected with the environment both present and past which may be unalterable.

In spite of this fact the criteria put forward in general terms, such as the psycho-sexual development to be attained, the ability to have good social relationships and the disappearance of symptoms, must always be considered together with the actual possibility of the attainment of complete mental health.

We should be in a much better position to state the criteria for the termination of an analysis if we carried out some research on the subject by recording at the beginning of the treatment a prognosis for subsequent comparison with the final result.

The main facts to be noted would be:

1. The initial diagnosis.

2. The age at which manifest symptoms appeared, and the duration of the illness. The history of childhood development if obtainable without questioning.

3. In character cases, the presence or absence of recurring failures or successes of the same type. This observation aids the assessment of the part played by neurotic formations in the character.

4. The nature of environmental influences, whether unusually unfavourable or good. In addition, the likelihood of the immediate environment being changed for the benefit of the patient.

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