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(1989). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 58:337-338.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:337-338

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society


Dr. Abend considered a number of technical problems related to the termination of analysis, particularly the importance of analyzing patients' unconscious fantasies brought up by the prospect of termination. One case showed how the analysis of fantasies propelling the patient toward interrupting her treatment forestalled that enactment. Another illustrated how certain unconscious fantasies helped lead in the direction of an apparently interminable analysis; once these were properly understood, their role in postponing a decision to terminate was clarified, and the evaluation of when it would be appropriate to conclude the analysis was thereby simplified. In all cases, analysis of patients' unconscious fantasies about termination contributes to the success of the analytic work, since such fantasies invariably express important aspects of the patient's pathogenic conflicts.

Dr. Abend also examined how analysts' explicit or implicit theories about analysis, the analytic situation, the analytic process, and its termination influence their technical handling of patients during the termination phase. In a survey of the literature Dr. Abend illustrated the variations in theory that contribute to certain technical postures which may disadvantageously influence the outcome of some cases. Among a number of issues he addressed was that of imposing an arbitrary termination date for the presumed purpose of bringing forth material not yet adequately dealt with in the analysis. The evolution of clinical theory in the years since Freud's well-known experiment with the Wolf Man has removed all rational support for such a tactic.

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