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Gabbard, G.O. (2009). What is a “Good Enough” Termination?. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 57(3):575-594.

(2009). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 57(3):575-594

What is a “Good Enough” Termination?

Glen O. Gabbard

In Freud's technique papers, he failed to develop a systematic approach to termination. Much of the existing literature is based on psychoanalytic mythologies about the way patients are expected to end analysis. The models described in the literature are often starkly at odds with what one sees in clinical practice. A wish for idealized versions of termination underlies much of what has been written, and we need to shift to a conceptual model involving “good enough” termination. A number of different endings to psychoanalysis may, in the long run, lead to productive outcomes; these models are examined, as are various approaches to the dilemmas presented at the time of termination.

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