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Meissner, W.W. (2006). Time on My Hands: The Dilemma of the Chronically Late Patient. Psychoanal. Psychol., 23(4):619-643.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 23(4):619-643

Time on My Hands: The Dilemma of the Chronically Late Patient

W. W. Meissner, SJ, M.D.

In this article the author discusses the problems and dilemmas created by patients who are chronically late for analytic hours or frequently absent from them. The discussion focuses on a single case study, in which this phenomenon was a predominant feature of the analytic process. The author explores some of the issues, dynamic and defensive, underlying such behavior as well as motivational components involving unresolved oedipal issues and powerful unsatisfied narcissistic needs. The temporal difficulties of patients such as this one demonstrate the role of time as a point of conjunction of aspects of the analytic relation involving the temporal dimension of the real structure of the analytic situation and its intersection with transferential and alliance considerations. The analytic task is to balance the temporal requirements of the analytic process against the array of the patient's infantile and narcissistic needs on one hand and legitimate claims for autonomy and freedom on the other.

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