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Yanof, J.A. (2006). Discussion of Anna. Psychoanal. St. Child, 61:139-144.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 61:139-144

Discussion of Anna

Judith A. Yanof, M.D.

Rachel Seidel Frames Her Clinical Paper Around the Subject of separation in adolescence. She points out that “being able to separate from home in a rather uncomplicated way” is a normal developmental task of adolescence. She states that her patient, Anna, was stuck at this developmental crossroad. The paper discusses separation from the analyst at three different times during the treatment. This organization enables the reader to appreciate the changes that evolved during the analytic work as well as the different levels of developmental conflict that were revived and reworked in the treatment. Seidel poignantly conveys Anna's intense affective engagement in the analytic process, while noting her simultaneous ability to step back from her feelings to self-reflect and think analytically, using humor and metaphor. This sophisticated and nuanced analytic work led to a termination of the analysis after three years and a successful move away from home to college.

Seidel implicitly conceptualizes the therapeutic action of this psychoanalysis as involving Anna's use of her analyst as an important attachment figure during a crucial developmental time. The analyst provided stability and availability during a period when the patient was struggling to get needed emotional distance from an enmeshed, sadomasochistic relationship with her parents. Once she loosened her dependent ties to her parents by attaching herself to the analyst, Anna used her psychoanalysis to work on conflicted feelings about dependency and autonomy that came alive in the analytic relationship.

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