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Novick, K.K. Novick, J. (2002). Parent Work in Analysis: Children, Adolescents, and Adults. Part Four: Termination and Post-Termination Phases. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 2(2):43-55.

(2002). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 2(2):43-55

Parent Work in Analysis: Children, Adolescents, and Adults. Part Four: Termination and Post-Termination Phases

Kerry Kelly Novick and Jack Novick, Ph.D.


Despite the spate of papers in the last thirty years on the topic of termination, the ending of treatment for adults and children remains an area of difficulty and conceptual controversy. This seems especially true in regard to termination work with parents. All too frequently, children and adolescents end treatment prematurely because of a unilateral decision on the part of their parents (Novick 1990). Our present focus on parent work derives from our experience that it is essential to a genuine completion of a child analysis that parents be an explicit part of the treatment plan throughout. Earlier papers in this series (J. Novick and K. K. Novick 2001, K. K. Novick and J. Novick 2002, this volume) have detailed conflicts, anxieties, and resistances that arise in parents and have suggested techniques for addressing them at each phase of treatment. Here we will look at issues in the termination phase and in the time after the therapy of the child or adolescent ends.

Termination of Parent Work

Assuming that there has been consistent work with parents throughout treatment, patient, parents, and analyst enter the termination phase with an agreed-upon ending date and a shared understanding of the tasks remaining to be accomplished. For the first time in the treatment, there is little danger of a premature, unilateral termination. But termination work with parents is crucial to helping them to support their child's adaptive use of the termination work, to meet the child's legitimate need for a supportive, validating other when the analyst is no longer available, and to foster their autonomous capacity to use the positive parenting skills they have developed.

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