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Castelnuovo-Tedesco, P. (1989). The Fear of Change and Its Consequences in Analysis and Psychotherapy. Psychoanal. Inq., 9(1):101-118.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 9(1):101-118

The Fear of Change and Its Consequences in Analysis and Psychotherapy

Pietro Castelnuovo-Tedesco, M.D.

All forms of psychotherapeutic treatment are concerned, implicitly even when not explicitly, with the issue of change. The idea of change is in fact so central to the whole psychotherapeutic endeavor that one might properly say that treatment inevitably is steeped in it and abounds with concerns about change. It should therefore not be surprising that the fear of change is a common phenomenon, nor does it seem extreme to say that such fear may be regarded as a topic of special significance for all who practice analysis or psychotherapy. “Fear of change,” as employed in this paper, is a shorthand term for a complex network of attitudes and concerns about the therapeutic situation and its likely effects; its principal manifestation is a fear of treatment.

Over the long history of psychoanalytic writing, much attention has been given to the issue of therapeutic change—what it is and how it comes about (Strachey, 1934; Freud, 1937; Fenichel, 1941; Loewald, 1960; Rangell, 1981).

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