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Craige, H. (2006). Termination, Terminable and Interminable: Commentary on Paper by Jody Messler Davies. Psychoanal. Dial., 16(5):585-590.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 16(5):585-590

Termination, Terminable and Interminable: Commentary on Paper by Jody Messler Davies Related Papers

Heather Craige, M.S.W.

The termination process begins while the analytic couple is preparing together to end treatment. Mourning the loss and binding the edges of the analytic relationship proceed within each participant after they no longer meet. Many of our common termination practices, however, undermine the patient's leave taking and endanger the positive internal object relationship that we hope our patient will carry into the future. Traditional teachings about how to practice termination, based on one-person psychology and classical principles of anonymity, abstinence, and neutrality, must change to reflect newer ideas about how analysis works. I propose that we think of termination as both a death and a graduation. I suggest ways in which the analyst might engage with the patient in mourning together. I stress the critical importance of follow-up sessions in which unanticipated negative reactions to the termination might be examined before the analytic tapestry has a chance to unravel.

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