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Schachter, J. Martin, G.C. Gundle, M.J. O’Neil, M.K. (1997). Clinical Experience With Psychoanalytic Post-Termination Meetings. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 78:1183-1198.

(1997). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 78:1183-1198

Clinical Experience With Psychoanalytic Post-Termination Meetings

Joseph Schachter, Gary C. Martin, Michael J. Gundle and Mary Kay O’Neil

The authors describe post-termination meetings in order to examine the controversial issue of the proper relationship between analyst and patient at this stage. In the first case the meetings facilitated the patient's re-entering treatment, leading to significant further growth. In the second and third cases, the meetings re-ignited mourning for the analyst and furthered analytic gains. The authors’ overall impression was that the post-termination contacts were helpful for all three patients. Their limited data contradicted the long-standing assumption that all post-termination contact, unless specified as a course of further treatment, is harmful to the patient. The authors suggest that such meetings stabilise analytic gains, provide a joint assessment of analytic outcome from a useful later perspective and provide an opportunity for further analytic work. The consideration of any post-termination changes in the patient allows for a more inclusive evaluation of the analysis than was possible earlier. While acknowledging the need to consider such meetings thoughtfully in order to avoid any harmful enactment of wishes by the patient or the analyst, the authors encourage analysts to explore and report such meetings to replace unexamined assumptions and develop a body of clinical data about the effects of post-termination contacts.

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