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Nacht, S. (1957). Technical Remarks on the Handling of the Transference Neurosis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 38:196-203.

(1957). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 38:196-203

Technical Remarks on the Handling of the Transference Neurosis

S. Nacht

Failure in psycho-analytical treatment may come about in various ways. The commonest is when the patient decides to abandon the treatment after a longer or shorter period because it seems to him that he is not benefiting from it. Whether his decision is justified or not, in other words, whether it is determined by a reinforcement of resistances or by valid proof, matters little. The interruption of the analysis under such circumstances undeniably represents a failure for the therapist. This kind of failure can generally be attributed either to errors in evaluating the indications of psycho-analysis for the patient or to mistakes in technique.

The therapist may also decide, for these or other reasons, no longer to pursue a treatment which has been poorly launched or which holds little promise of favourable results. Such failures are indeed regrettable, but the analyst can hope to avoid them when he has enriched his own understanding and, especially, his therapeutic experience. Be that as it may, failure is expressed in either case by a rupture of the patient–therapist relationship, and hence by discontinuance of the treatment. But there are other failures, or threats of failure, which are of a different kind and undoubtedly more serious in their consequences.

In the case we shall consider here, the treatment has been following its course for a number of months or even years, and might go on indefinitely despite the fact that it apparently brings nothing to the patient.

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