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Mahon, E. Battin-Mahon, D. (1983). The Fate of Screen Memories in Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. St. Child, 38:459-479.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 38:459-479

The Fate of Screen Memories in Psychoanalysis

Eugene Mahon, M.D. and Delia Battin-Mahon, M.S.

IN A PRELIMINARY COMMUNICATION (MAHON AND BATTIN, 1981), we described how screen memories can be used as a criterion for the termination of a psychoanalysis. We argued that screen memories are luminous windows on the hidden past that hide, however, more than they reveal. When an analysis nears termination and the hidden past has been transformed into revelations of synthesis and insight, screen memories undergo a clinically measurable metamorphosis. The analysand, in the terminal phase of his analysis, is subjectively aware that his screen memories are no longer the highly cathected, uncanny residues of his past; that is, they have become relatively decathected. This decathexis is a measure of the working-through process and the analysis of the transference neurosis. The patient's subjective sense of this decathexis of his screens is therefore an index of structural change and one indication which can be used, along with others, to alert and guide the clinician in the terminal phase of an analysis.

In this communication, after a brief review of the contributions by Freud and others to screen memories, we shall present the clinical data that led to our formulations and discuss our findings.

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