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Ablon, S.L. (1988). Developmental Forces and Termination in Child Analysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 69:97-104.

(1988). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 69:97-104

Developmental Forces and Termination in Child Analysis

Steven Luria Ablon


Re-examining Sigmund Freud's 'Analysis terminable and interminable' (1937) from the perspective of child analysis highlights the importance of developmental assessment and developmental forces in psychoanalysis. This paper explores the questions of the goals of child analysis and the criteria for successful treatment. Also discussed is how unrealistic expectations on the part of the analyst and the parents, as well as the parents' and analyst's conflicts may result in an analysis being interminable. An additional problem at termination is the mourning involved for both the child and the analyst. These issues are explored in the context of the final year of analysis of a 5-year-old boy who stuttered. Reflecting on this boy's analysis, questions about the relationship of termination to developmental forces, the resolution of the transference neurosis, reconstruction, countertransference and identification with the analysing function of the analyst are explored. The importance and meaning of the child's, the analyst's, and the parents' simultaneous intuitive sense of the time for termination are discussed.

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