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J Am Psychoanal Assoc. 2002 Spring;50(2):507-50.

Mourning analysis: the post-termination phase.

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UNC-Duke Psychoanalytic Education Program, USA.


One hundred twenty-one analytic candidates who had completed training analysis responded to a survey about their post-termination experience. Seventy-six percent of respondents experienced a mourning process that lasted on average between six months and a year, while 24 per cent experienced no discernible sense of painful loss. Twenty candidates were interviewed to obtain a deeper understanding of the mourning process that follows analysis. During the post-termination phase, the analysand's self-analytic capacity is tested in the struggle to contain and understand feelings about the loss of the analyst, as well as transference reactions triggered by that loss. After a "good-enough analysis," the analysand internalizes not only the analyst's functions and attitudes toward him or her, but also a sustaining, positive internal image of the analyst. Four cases illustrate unexpected difficulties that may emerge during the post-termination phase when the loss of the analyst is experienced as a repetition of earlier, traumatic losses or as a rupture of an unanalyzed, selfobject transference.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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