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Garella, A. (2008). Ethics in the termination of analysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 89(2):313-330.

(2008). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 89(2):313-330

Ethics in the termination of analysis

Alessandro Garella

The author argues that the termination of analysis raises not only theoretical and technical issues but also problems of evaluation that are both moral (what is good or bad with regard to termination) and ethical (what is the best way of achieving the intended objective). Broadly speaking, he considers that the subject can be addressed from three different aspects: (a) a psychoanalysis of ethics; (b) an ethic of psychoanalytic treatment; (c) an area of intersection between psychoanalysis and ethics that has to do with mankind's norms and values. The termination is particularly well suited to investigation of the intertwining of ethics with other aspects of psychic functioning. A specific description is given of the conflict between the ‘limit’ and ‘completeness’, the limit being connected with the analysis and the wish, while completeness is the possibility of experiencing the analysis and one's personal life as endowed with the ‘sense of an end-point’. The conflict may be expressed in dramatic or tragic forms that can be productively explored through the Aristotelian concepts of peripeteia and recognition. The termination process offers material for establishing an ethics of the limit, highlighting the psychic role of moral judgement and the need to evaluate this role if a satisfactory termination is to be achieved.

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