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Steiner, J. (2005). The Conflict between Mourning and Melancholia. Psychoanal Q., 74(1):83-104.

(2005). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 74(1):83-104

The Conflict between Mourning and Melancholia

John Steiner

Conflict between facing the reality of loss on the one hand, and denying it on the other, is explored in clinical material drawn from an analysis approaching termination. The intrapsychic conflict over loss was expressed as a conflict between morality and reality, and was externalized as a conflict between patient and analyst. For the patient, giving up resentment toward the analyst became tantamount to giving up the ideal object and losing omnipotence. In the course of the analysis, his complaints became less convincing, and the conflict over loss became more conscious, allowing some moves toward mourning to take place.

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