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McLaughlin, F. (1959). Problems of Reanalysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 7:537-547.

(1959). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 7:537-547

Problems of Reanalysis

Francis McLaughlin, M.D.

Emanuel Windholz opened the panel by suggesting two sets of topics as a guide for discussion: consideration of theoretical aspects in the morning, and of practical questions in the afternoon.

In the first formal presentation, "The Definition of Reanalysis, " Russell Anderson pointed out that reanalysis was a rather ill-defined term and suggested three possibilities. One, the first analysis has progressed in a satisfactory way although many problems have not been worked out. Later the analysand returns to the same analyst for further work. This is essentially a continuation of the analysis. Second, Anderson described the situation in which analysis was unsuccessful and unfruitful and was terminated for these reasons. He stated that we could hardly speak of reanalysis because nothing important in the way of analysis had been accomplished. Three, the first analysis had been successful with a definite termination, but the patient at a later time developed problems and difficulties which called for another analysis. He felt that we could truly call this reanalysis since it is an attempt to analyze new aspects of the personality or new symptoms. This might be conducted with the first analyst or with someone else. Anderson then considered why previous analyses might have been unsuccessful. He suggested a number of possibilities: (1) countertransference or serious errors on the part of the analyst, which can be more readily recognized during reanalysis; (2) the personality structure of the analyst, which would enable him to work with certain patients effectively while being quite unable to help certain others; this raised the whole question of special abilities and talents; the factors within the analyst which increase his deftness have not yet been studied; (3) the possible importance of the sex or the age of the analyst; (4) a change in the patient's life situation such as growth and greater maturity with the possibility of dispensing more readily with formerly impregnable defenses.

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