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Böhm, T. (1992). Turning Points and Change in Psychoanalysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 73:675-684.

(1992). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 73:675-684

Turning Points and Change in Psychoanalysis

Tomas Böhm


The turning point is defined as the sudden change of quality that plays the part of a forerunner or prerequisite to the slow structural change in psychoanalytic treatment. Turning points have two common elements, confrontation and surprise, that lead to the centre of the turning point experience—the feeling of having an inner life—which leads up to the interpretive working through process that corresponds to structural change. To restore or create the feeling of having an inner life runs parallel to restoring the psychoanalytic process from acting-out temptations. Harold Stewart's agents of change are discussed as having the characteristics of turning points and clinical vignettes are described to show the main points. Finally, the countertransference aspect of allowing turning points to happen is discussed.

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