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Jacobs, T.J. (2002). Once More with Feeling: On Working Through in the Analyst and Its Role in the Analytic Process. Psychoanal. Inq., 22(4):599-616.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 22(4):599-616

Once More with Feeling: On Working Through in the Analyst and Its Role in the Analytic Process

Theodore J. Jacobs, M.D.

My AIM in this Chapter is to Discuss Working Through in the analyst as an ongoing process, one that, inevitably, has a major impact on clinical work. By “ongoing,” I mean an open-ended, often lifelong, effort to revisit, relive, and revise those unsatisfactory compromise formations that have contributed so much to our neurotic difficulties.

As traditionally defined, the term working through has been limited to the analytic process itself and has been conceptualized in a variety of ways. Some authors (Brodsky, 1967) view working through as the gradual process of altering automatic reactions and the anxiety that attends them. Others (Ornstein, 1991) link it to early traumatic experiences and understand it as involving the slow integration and mastery of such experiences. Still others (Parken, 1981) regard working through as analogous to a mourning process in which old object ties, long-held fantasies, and accustomed ways of thinking and responding are gradually relinquished. Emphasizing its complex nature, Brenner (1987) regards working through as equivalent to the analytic process itself. He sees no need for a separate term to designate what for him is the essential work of analysis.


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