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Possick, S. (1984). Termination in the Dora Case. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 12(1):1-11.

(1984). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 12(1):1-11

Termination in the Dora Case

Stanley Possick, M.D.

Dora's termination from her analysis with Freud illustrates one of the historical documentations of transference and countertransference in psychoanalysis (Bergel, 1982). In Freud's interpretation of Dora's first dream, which she presented two weeks before the termination, he noted, “You have decided to give up the treatment — to which after all, it is only your father who makes you come” (Freud, 1905, p. 70). Yet Freud seemed to forget these remarks, and he expressed surprise and anger when the treatment was ended:

Her breaking off so unexpectedly, just when my hopes of a successful termination of the treatment were at their highest, and her thus bringing those hopes to nothing — this was an act of vengeance on her part (Freud, 1905, p. 109).

Although he heard the theme of revenge in the transference — “she took revenge on me as she wanted to take revenge on him” (Freud, 1905, p. 119) (Freud stated that “him” referred to Herr. K.) — Freud assumed responsibility for failing to understand and address many elements of Dora's transferential feelings towards him. Freud defined his failure to deal with the transference, coupled with his not addressing Dora's homosexual love for Frau K., as the reason for his therapeutic failure:

The fault in my technique lay in this omission: I failed to discover in time and to inform the patient that her homosexual love for Frau K. was the strongest unconscious current in her mental life (Freud, 1905, p. 120).

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