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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

Michael Balint and Donald Winnicott were contemporaries in the British Psycho-Analytical Society; the former came to England from Budapest and the Hungarian Society in 1939, and the latter was English and a product of the British Society. Both analysts were interested in the psychopathology and treatment of severely regressed patients, in this way following in Ferenczi's footsteps, and both wrote extensively of their views and experiences. In 1968, Balint wrote the book entitled The Basic Fault, which had the sub-title 'Therapeutic Aspects of Regression', and he brought together his changing views and experience on this topic as they had developed over forty years. Both Balint and Winnicott were sympathetic to many of the views of Melanie Klein, although neither considered themselves Kleinians or followers of her school. The notion of therapeutic regression is absent from the Kleinian literature but certain aspects of Kleinian theory are useful in thinking about the phenomena encountered in therapeutic regression. In this paper I want to examine some aspects of the technical problems encountered at the basic fault, but we first need to remind ourselves of Balint's thinking when he coined the term.

Like most other analysts, he noticed that although an analysis might have started and proceeded reasonably smoothly with both analyst and patient intelligibly understanding each other, at some point suddenly or insidiously the atmosphere of the analytic situation changed profoundly.

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