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Miller, I. (1965). On the Return of Symptoms in the Terminal Phase of Psycho-Analysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 46:487-501.

(1965). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 46:487-501

On the Return of Symptoms in the Terminal Phase of Psycho-Analysis

Ira Miller


The terminal phase of analysis has been discussed as an important and active phase of the analysis in which, and only during which, certain aspects of the transference neurosis can be worked through. The return of symptoms in the terminal phase has been viewed in relation to the working through of the fantasy of infantile omnipotence during that phase of treatment. The return of symptoms is viewed in the form of a negation of increasing maturity and adaptability with which the patient is confronted by reality. As a negation it can be seen as the first step in a release from repression of the omnipotent fantasy, and so utilized therapeutically in order that the patient can deal, via the reality principle, with pathological degrees of narcissism. The return of symptoms is also viewed as a model for an aspect of the negative therapeutic reaction in support of the view that such a reaction is overdetermined.

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