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Ferraro, F. Garella, A. (1997). Termination As A Psychoanalytic Event. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 78:27-41.

(1997). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 78:27-41

Termination As A Psychoanalytic Event

Fausta Ferraro and Alessandro Garella

After noting that the debate on termination encompasses both the singularity of clinical practice and the generality of theory, the authors propose an approach that focuses on the actual event of termination, for which the termination process is seen as a preparation. They show that termination as a process has featured in psychoanalytic theory for many years and give examples of different conceptions of it from the literature of the last seventy years. However, in their view the event of termination, as an act of passage and an entity that can be consigned to memory, is of particular importance and comprises a complex configuration that has the three coordinates of direction, communication and temporality, which are discussed in turn. Dreams, parapraxes and acting out, as well as parting gifts from the analysand to the analyst, assume particular significance in the context of termination, which sometimes emerges only after the analysis has ended. The concept of termination as event, in the authors’ view, offers a typological framework that accounts for the differences between successfully terminated analyses, analyses that are broken off unilaterally by the patient or the analyst, impasse situations and interminable analyses. The points raised are illustrated by clinical vignettes.

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