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Van Der Sterren, H.A. (1966). Life Decisions During Analysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 47:295-298.

(1966). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 47:295-298

Life Decisions During Analysis

H. A. Van Der Sterren

In his article, 'Remembering, Repeating and Working-through' written in 1914, Freud clearly describes several very important discoveries concerning the psychical process during analysis. He explains how the patient repeats his neurosis in the transference and how the analyst's task is to detect from this what is repressed and to interpret it. He compares the psycho-analytic therapy of 1914 with the hypnotic therapy of earlier years and says:

Remembering, as it was induced in hypnosis, could not but give the impression of an experiment carried out in the laboratory. Repeating, as it is induced in analytic treatment according to the newer technique, on the other hand, implies conjuring up a piece of real life; and for that reason it cannot always be harmless and unobjectionable.

And further on:

He (the physician) is prepared for a perpetual struggle with his patient to keep in the psychical sphere all the impulses which the patient would like to direct into the motor sphere; and he celebrates it as a triumph for the treatment if he can bring it about that something that the patient wishes to discharge in action is disposed of through the work of remembering. If the attachment through transference has grown into something at all serviceable, the treatment is able to prevent the patient from executing any of the more important repetitive actions and to utilize his intention to do so in statu nascendi as material for the therapeutic work. One best protects the patient from injuries brought about through carrying out one of his impulses by making him promise not to take any important decisions affecting his life during the time of his treatment—for instance, not to choose any profession or definitive love-object—but to postpone all such plans until after his recovery.

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