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Davies, J.M. (2006). Reply to Commentaries. Psychoanal. Dial., 16(5):611-616.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 16(5):611-616

Reply to Commentaries Related Papers

Jody Messler Davies, Ph.D.

It is a pleasure to be able to respond to these five very thoughtful and thought-provoking commentaries. I find repeatedly that such responses help me to clarify meanings, deepen my own thinking, and consider perspectives that would not have occurred to me otherwise.

I would like to begin with the whole issue of posttermination experience. Several of the commentators (Craige, Hill, Rosenfield and Reis) questioned my tapestry metaphor, the notion of binding off threads and attempting to protect the treatment from the “escape of one errant thread” that might threaten how the analysis is remembered. Here, it is possible that I became caught up in my own metaphor, for I certainly agree that the post-termination year will be a time of incredible psychic change, potential growth, and consolidation. I was appreciative of Craige's important research confirming the clinical wisdom that self-analysis goes on long after the termination of the analysis proper, a capacity that is, in fact, often cited as a sign that heralds the approach of a termination process.

However, I believe that my language was selected to highlight the more subjective aspect of the analyst's experience of the termination, termination from “the inside out,” rather than “the outside in.” From this perspective there is a felt urgency to the analyst's sense of closure, because it is the last time that he or she will be able to influence or have impact on the direction that the patient's internal analytic work will assume once the formal analysis has ended. In that sense we attempt to anticipate the voice of bad objects and respond to them in advance, to wonder with the patient how “they” will experience the potential abandonment of the termination proper and reflect on the internal self-states that may be evoked. Of course, we cannot control the patient's internal process once we are gone, but there is a struggle to try and set in motion a growth-enhancing and consolidating process.

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