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Blum, H.P. (1987). Analysis Terminable and Interminable: A Half Century Retrospective. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 68:37-47.

(1987). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 68:37-47

Analysis Terminable and Interminable: A Half Century Retrospective

Harold P. Blum

SUMMARY

Elucidating issues of profound importance, 'Analysis terminable and interminable' stimulated the advance of psychoanalytic thought while in some respects paradoxically reactivating antiquated ideas. Soberly realistic about analytic outcome, Freud indicated that conflict could not be permanently resolved or the ego definitively strengthened. He emphasized some important aspects of constitution, such as strength of the instincts, libidinal adhesiveness, free aggression, and psychic fluidity or rigidity. Considering the influence of experience, he regarded the more accidental traumatic neurosis as having an unusually favourable prognosis. While concurrently advancing dual drive theory and ego psychology, Freud also paradoxically returned to concepts of ego instincts. His proposals concerning the bedrock of bisexuality have been extended and deepened, but the 'repudiation of femininity' requires theoretical qualification.

Problems of termination thread through the entire essay. Freud pondered the nature of termination as well as incomplete, completed, periodic, and interminable analysis. His observations both preceded and contributed to the subsequent formulation of a terminal phase. He recognized that analysts might require re-analysis and hoped that the analytic process would continue after termination in the analyst's self-analysis.

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