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Novick, J. (1988). The Timing of Termination. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 15:307-318.

(1988). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 15:307-318

The Timing of Termination

Jack Novick

SUMMARY

Many analyses end prematurely or too late. Premature terminations can reflect the revival of adolescent patterns of leaving and emerge in treatment as a regression from a differentiated to an 'externalizing transference'. Such a move often precedes, and may be mistaken for, a timely termination and sometimes only the counter-reaction of the analyst can distinguish the two. Using clinical material an attempt is made to contrast premature and timely terminations. One of the countertransference hindrances to a timely termination is seen in the confusion between the goals of treatment and the criteria for starting a termination phase. In the case presented, the termination phase did not start with the resolution of conflicts or the transference neurosis but with an optimal level of a working alliance which in itself stemmed from a sustained oedipal transference. In response to the loss of the analyst and the end of analysis the patient could internalize the working alliance and establish a self-analytic function.

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