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Rothstein, A. (1995). Commentaries. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:368-372.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:368-372

Commentaries

Arnold Rothstein

Freud and the founders of psychoanalysis were burdened with an idealization of the power of insight. They believed that if you made the unconscious conscious a cure would result. Working through is the term Freud (1914) introduced to explain why interpretation does not provide immediate and lasting therapeutic success. Freud's and all subsequent discussions of working through are explanations of why analytic work requires frequent sessions characterized by frequent and repetitive interpretations over long periods of time. In other words, discussions of working through are discussions of modes of therapeutic action—discussions of how analysis works. As Brenner (1987) has put it, “working through … is analysis” (p. 103).

In this brief discussion I suggest that the term working through is redundant and should be discarded. The term analytic work or the phrase “the work of analysis” more accurately describes the interminable activity of the analytic collaboration.

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