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Kaplan, D.M. (1997). Discussion of Martin Bergmann's and Jack Novick's Articles. Psychoanal. Psychol., 14(2):175-180.

(1997). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 14(2):175-180

Discussion of Martin Bergmann's and Jack Novick's Articles

Donald M. Kaplan, Ph.D.

Something in particular is going on in both these articles that should not escape notice, an approach to things that brings us back to certain issues exceeding the special problem of termination. For quite some time now, the psychoanalytic community has been mistaking digression for innovation. What Martin Bergmann and Jack Novick have treated us to is an alternative to much that currently passes for improvement of psychoanalytic practice. Having researched the psychoanalytic problem of termination and independently come to similar—though, to be sure, not identical—conclusions about the state of the problem, neither author goes on to assign blame for what he has found to be some communal scarcity of subjectivity. Hence, neither author proposes to fix things up by appeals for simply more soul-searching on the part of the practitioner. In the absence of adequate technical knowledge, no amount of intersubjectivity will get the analytic job done, because the job entails much more than getting two hearts to beat as one.

Because the origins of a problem often embody indications of its solutions, we might ask how the problem of termination of analysis became the problem our authors describe, which is to a large extent a problem of neglect and evasion. Martin Bergmann (this issue) writes near the end of his presentation, “In spite of the large literature on termination, no paradigm of termination has been made part of the professional equipment of the psychoanalytic practitioner.”

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