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Wilson, M., Sperlinger, D. (2004). Dropping Out or Dropping in? A Re-Examination of the Concept of Dropouts using Qualitative Methodology. Psychoanal. Psychother., 18:220-237.

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(2004). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 18(2):220-237

Dropping Out or Dropping in? A Re-Examination of the Concept of Dropouts using Qualitative Methodology

Dr Mona Wilson and Dr David Sperlinger

Semi-structured interviews were carried out with six individuals who unilaterally discontinued long-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Their six therapists were separately interviewed. The twelve interviews were analysed using qualitative methodology. The results suggest that individuals who ‘drop-out! of therapy could be seen as having ‘dropped-in’ — as part of shopping around for a therapy that suits them or in order to explore a particular therapeutic approach and the extent to which they can tolerate or benefit from it. Most of the therapists felt intensely affected by their patient's decision to leave, and the paper examines how they manage these feelings.

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