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Winestine, M.C. (1987). Reaction to the End of the Analytic Hour as a Derivative of an Early Childhood Experience: Couch or Crib. Psychoanal Q., 56:689-692.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:689-692

Reaction to the End of the Analytic Hour as a Derivative of an Early Childhood Experience: Couch or Crib

Muriel Chaves Winestine, Ph.D.

Reactions to the end of an analytic session serve as fertile ground for transference manifestations. The following, from the analysis of a man in his early thirties, shows with unusual specificity how his characteristic way of behaving at the end of each session was derived from an early childhood experience. The level of affective and cognitive regression reflected at such times was in sharp contrast to his otherwise sophisticated level of perceptiveness and intelligence. It exposed an intrapsychic conflict around which his neurosis was organized and which contributed to his failure in pursuing a profession.

Mr. P always responded to the end of the hour as though it was a surprise and had occurred abruptly: he lingered on the couch, raised his eyebrows, finally sat up, looked disgruntled, amazed, gave me a woebegone, reproachful gaze as he dragged himself to the door, hesitated before opening it, and finally left. He reported that once on the street, he felt bewildered, and he described mild feelings of agoraphobia.

During one session, he recalled that after the previous day's hour, he dined at a nearby restaurant counter. Although his order was taken ahead of a man sitting next to him, the latter was served first. Mr. P felt a surge of rage and irritation and yelled to the waitress, "Where is my food?" She admonished him to wait a minute and then presented his meal, which had taken a bit longer to prepare. His associations led to feelings that he thought he had had when he was a small child and his mother had to feed "the baby" ahead of him.

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