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Roose, L.J. (1969). The Dying Patient. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 50:385-395.

(1969). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 50:385-395

The Dying Patient

Lawrence J. Roose


The clinical course of this dying patient tends to confirm observations made in similar cases that a reasonably logical approach to the treatment of the dying patient can be constructed. An attempt has been made to show that denial and regression facilitate the development of a fantasy of reunion. In this state there is comparative peace and calm in the face of death.

Assuming that countertransference reactions (which probably always arise) are carefully observed and dissipated, the development of the transference and its effective use are of primary importance in treatment.

The technical manoeuvres which promote the development of the transference are discussed. The immediate confrontation of the patient by the truth enables the patient to develop quickly a trust in the therapist, who becomes the all-powerful benevolent

archaic mother. The truth is redenied. Denial and regression reinforce each other. Their cumulative effect hastens the development of the state of reunion. Awareness of the path which the transference will take helps the therapist to encourage this development. The manipulation of the transference is used as the basic therapeutic instrumentality rather than interpretation.

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