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Ross, M. (1973). Some Clinical and Theoretical Aspects of Working Through. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 54:331-343.

(1973). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 54:331-343

Some Clinical and Theoretical Aspects of Working Through

Manuel Ross

The purpose of this paper is to pursue a hypothesis that working through, in an operational and theoretical sense, can best be construed as a developmental system or organizational nexus which is eventually incorporated under the synthetic and integrative functions of the ego. Defined in this way, it would find its roots in all structures of the psyche and therefore be too broad a concept to lie within the definition of an ego function. With this assumption, phenomena such as transference and resistance would be subsumed as interdependent items falling within the envelope of the working through system and become an obvious part of an adaptive metapsychology. Termination, for example, would not be determined solely by symptomatic improvement, resolution of the transference, or structural changes such as in the superego. It would be on the basis of whether the analysand had incorporated or revised a model of working through which showed signs of autonomy from the actual analytic situation. Problems of analytic technique would be defined in terms of how working through is different within the analytic situation and without. Although sounding ponderous, the phrase 'working through neurosis' would have an analogous focusing effect comparable to that of the term 'transference neurosis'.

For an outline, the first section of the paper will be divided into two parts: one centring on the difficulties of definition, and the other on the quantitative or economic factor. In the second section I will discuss some factors that I think are common to all analytic situations, especially as they relate to working through.

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