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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 words 'turning point' create the image of a dramatic change of direction that doesn't really fit when you envision the ocean cruiser that an analysis is. Nevertheless I have chosen the turning point metaphor, because we often have the impression that the slow navigational manoeuvre may have started at that specific session or at a given moment of an analysis, even if it took a long time and much navigational effort before the ocean liner was stabilized in the new direction.

I will use the term 'turning point' here to mean a momentary sudden change in quality, depth or direction. It is, to use another image, as if a metaphorical new door to a new unexpected room is opened.

This is also meant to stress the contrast to the slow kind of structural change that is more often discussed in psychoanalysis, where I think the turning point plays the part of forerunner or prerequisite.

The agent that has been in focus for a long time concerning change in psychoanalysis is transference interpretation.

In a recent paper Harold Stewart (1990) describes the factors in psychoanalysis that might be active in contributing to change.

In his paper he argues against the Kleinian group from the standpoint of a representative of the Independent group and Stewart claims that there are several active agents other than the mutative transference interpretation cited by Strachey (1934).

He mentions the following five phenomena as examples of what might give rise to change of psychic structure in psychoanalysis:


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