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Boesky, D. (1995). Commentaries. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:356-360.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:356-360

Commentaries

Dale Boesky

John Gedo raises valuable questions about the concept of working through, but I have the impression that his answers to these questions are misleading. I will attempt to show why I think so.

The term working through seems to have fallen into disuse in the past decade, and it would be useful to know why this is so. Although numerous authors since Freud have examined the concept, there has never been any consensual agreement on an acceptable definition. Brenner (1987) seems to have been correct in saying that working through seemed in general to mean each author's explanation of why analysis is so difficult, why it takes so long, and why it sometimes fails. For those who favored defense or resistance analysis, working through consisted of an alteration in the defense organization. For those who saw working through as a mourning process, it was the task of grieving. Gedo sees working through as a learning process in which patients learn how to think more clearly.

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