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Stewart, H. (1989). Technique at the Basic Fault/regression. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 70:221-230.

(1989). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 70:221-230

Technique at the Basic Fault/regression

Harold Stewart


This paper is concerned with problems of technique in patients who regress in analysis to a benign or malignant state of regression as conceptualized by Balint in his book, The Basic Fault. The clinical examples of technique in regression given in that book only illustrate states of benign regression and not those of the malignant variety. These examples are examined critically, particularly those advocating the allowance by the analyst of the patient holding his finger or hand, and clinical reasons are advanced to show the disadvantage of this technique in that it can be anti-therapeutic.

Aspects of the technique of treating cases of malignant regression are presented and discussed, particularly in terms of the vital importance of maintaining the analytic setting, necessitating the confrontation of the patient in maintaining the analytic boundaries and limits. The need to interpret the intensity and malignancy of the patient's destructive envious attacks on the analyst's capabilities and capacities is essential, as is the need for the analyst not to confuse his healthy aggressive firmness with his sadistic cruelty.

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