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Waugaman, R.M. (1996). Trauma and termination. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:396.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:396

Trauma and termination

Richard M. Waugaman

Dear Sir:

In her article, ‘Trauma and termination’ (Int. J. Psychoanal., 76: 51-65), Ferraro notes the ‘frequent occurrence of pregnancies at the time of terminations’. She goes on to say that ‘it is a subject neglected in the psychoanalytic literature’ (p. 61n.). Although she then cites two references pertinent to this topic, she omits a third reference: Jackel's 1966 article, ‘Interruptions during psychoanalytic treatment and the wish for a child’. Although he does not explicitly connect this wish with termination, his article is clearly germane to Ferraro's point. Jackel writes:

The many fantasies which occur in reaction to interruption in the analysis in connection with vacations, holidays, etc., have been frequently discussed in the analytic literature. It would seem, however, that one particular type of fantasy, which in the author's experience is common, has not been sufficiently explored. This concerns the emergence, under the impact of impending separation, of the wish to have a child. This wish may manifest itself in transference acting out, in dreams, in the appearance or reappearance of symptoms, and in the associations of the patient. It occurs in both sexes. Although overdetermined, it would seem to be primarily a preoedipal phenomenon (J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 14, p. 730).

He also states:

Often the wish is to establish a mother-child relationship in which the patient is both mother and (by identification) child. In such a fantasy, one can never be deserted and one is never alone (p. 733).

Richard M.

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