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Gediman, H.K. (1997). Discussion of Two Articles: “Criteria for Termination” by Steven J. Ellman and “On Long Analyses” by Warren S. Poland. Psychoanal. Psychol., 14(2):211-220.

(1997). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 14(2):211-220

Discussion of Two Articles: “Criteria for Termination” by Steven J. Ellman and “On Long Analyses” by Warren S. Poland

Helen K. Gediman, Ph.D.

The two speakers who have preceded me in today's symposium approach the question, “How long is too long?” from two different but equally valid angles. Dr. Ellman (1994) thoughtfully reviews and critiques theory-based outcome criteria for achieving specific analytic goals that indicate when an analysis is complete and ready to be terminated. He also proposes his own interesting process-related criteria based on extensive clinical case material. Dr. Poland (this issue) is not concerned here with theories and outcomes, but presents a case and engages us in a delightful personal and philosophical discourse on time, including various influences on the time it takes to complete an analysis. His discourse on the relativity of time as a function of a particular analyst with a particular patient at a particular temporal juncture has more to do with the variations of character, style, and personal tempo than with the more specific outcome and process goals of treatment that Ellman chooses as his focus.

I turn first to Dr. Poland's article (this issue), to read you some remarks he made in the cover letter he wrote to me accompanying his timely submitted manuscript, remarks that I read as a cautionary tale and that inspired my critique of some of his ideas. He wrote: “Generally, I am a hopeless rewriter, one who has to avoid my own published articles lest I try still to refine sentences to improve them.

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