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Apfelbaum, L. (2008). Some Comments on ‘Break Point’ by Stella M. Yardino. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 89(2):249-252.

(2008). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 89(2):249-252

Some Comments on ‘Break Point’ by Stella M. Yardino Related Papers Language Translation

Laurence Apfelbaum

One sometimes forgets how simply unexpected analysis can be, and Stella Yar-dino's ‘break point’ presentation is certainly an excellent reminder of this, with one surprise completing the other. After years spent checking herself so as not to enter fruitless battles with a cold and controlling patient, the analyst finds herself suddenly walking out on him; then he, instead of reacting as she expected he would, with ‘another absence, a furious attack or an icy silence’, comes in early to his next session with a full-fledged associative discourse.

This is certainly a good basis to think over the unusual effects of countertransfer-ence, not just as an obstacle which should be maximally reduced, but as a possible ally in the work of the analyst. Over the past decades, it has become common practice that analysts should consider their own transference as part of the picture, whether it be in terms of co-presence, interaction, or enactment. As I started reading Stella Yardino's presentation, I felt more or less on this familiar ground; I could share her annoyance at the patient's domineering manner, and sense how she could be ‘on the lookout’, as she names it, careful not to say a certain number of things which came to her mind (for instance, her repressed interpretation of the ‘pleasure–furious-pain’ of invasions). I believe every one of us has known these periods of constraint, hesitating between two interventions or none at all, trying to imagine what the patient can hear, fearing an impasse, sometimes trying to construe things with ‘empathy’, and finally being unhappy with most of anything we say as being too little or too much — which is clearly the opposite of what we feel when interpretation surges freely and unforeseen, and when it really seems part of an unconscious work in progress in a session.

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