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Schafer, R. (2002). Experiencing Termination: Authentic and False Depressive Positions. Psychoanal. Psychol., 19(2):235-253.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 19(2):235-253

Experiencing Termination: Authentic and False Depressive Positions

Roy Schafer, Ph.D.

Optimally, consideration of termination begins once the analysand functions fairly reliably within the depressive position. But once termination is anticipated, the analysand may regress defensively to escape the expected complex, often painful experience of separation, loss, and responsibility. She or he may assume a false depressive position: in a burdensome unconvincing way simulating a mature, caring, balanced mode of relating to others. Additionally, the analysand may be adjusting to an analyst who is in a false depressive position of his or her own. Thus, the analyst's emotional stability during this stressful time may strongly influence the analysand's experience of termination.

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