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Klauber, J. (1977). Analyses that Cannot be Terminated. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 58:473-477.

(1977). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 58:473-477

Analyses that Cannot be Terminated

John Klauber

Analyses which are truly interminable are probably fairly rare. What I would like to discuss are cases still beset with difficulty after many years, which neither patient nor analyst feels able to end. However, it is the difficulty of these cases, not the length of time, which accounts for their sometimes being thought of as interminable. As Nunberg (1954) pointed out in his paper on the evaluation of results, some analyses, in which a reasonable resolution is none the less to be looked for, can be expected to take a very long time.

I am going to sketch out some aspects of the history, and summarize some of the common features and differences, in two lengthy cases, both of women, who are still with me in what is now modified analysis. I do not myself think of the first of them as an interminable analysis, only as a slow one with difficulties in termination. But it is just for this reason that it may be helpful to describe her, as slow analysis and interminable analysis may have something in common, and the factors which act to modify the features of her pathology which are similar to those of the other patient will become apparent. I am aware that a comparison of only two patients is inadequate for the formulation of a scientific hypothesis, but I hope that it will be a stimulus to further thinking about a problem that deserves more discussion than it receives. I will end with some comments on the part played by the analyst in rendering an analysis interminable, with particular regard to the effects on his responses of the specific factors which characterize the transference of these patients.

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