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Fenichel, O. (1974). A Review of Freud's 'Analysis Terminable and Interminable'. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 1:109-116.

(1974). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 1:109-116

A Review of Freud's 'Analysis Terminable and Interminable'

Otto Fenichel

Whenever Freud published a lengthy paper, we conducted semester-long seminars. And his new work, over 31 pages long, is no less rich in content and thoughts than his classical papers. If we now want to discuss this work (Freud, 1937)in the course of one evening, there will remain much that cannot be fully appreciated and much that possibly will not be understood.

This paper deals with the most current problems of analytic practice, and it may be due to this circumstance—i.e. the fact that considerations of practice dominate the thoughts—that it lacks some of the well-rounded and compelling execution of the older clinical works.

Freud says:

Instead of an enquiry into how a cure by analysis comes about (a matter which I think has been sufficiently elucidated) the question should be asked of what are the obstacles that stand in the way of such a cure (1937p. 221),

and accordingly he proceeds to investigate these obstacles. On the one hand, however, it seems that the 'sufficient elucidation' of the therapeutic effect of the analysis is not yet clear enough, at least not to analysts—e.g. see Bergler's (1937) contribution to the Marienbad symposium. On the other hand, the method by which one approaches the problems of failure of analysis is completely dependent upon how one explains its successes in other cases. Thus it will become evident that the passages where I cannot fully follow Freud's reasoning in his new work are those in which his theoretical conception of the nature of analytic therapy seems to contradict ideas that I presented in 1936.

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