ABSTRACT

We have already seen the inception and the beginning of the process, as well as its prolonged middle term. It is now time to approach the subject of its end. But what do we mean by "ending an analysis"? Common sense tells us that a treatment ends when the patient and the analyst no longer meet on a regular basis, but in our discipline things do not usually follow this kind of logic. Freud (1937c) clearly stated this in "Analysis terminable and interminable", which represents his major effort at tackling this problem; there, he suggested that the end of the analysis comes when both parties no longer meet for analytic sessions, and that this happens when two conditions have been met: first, that all symptoms, inhibitions, and anxieties have disappeared, and second, that the analyst judges that "so much repressed material has been made conscious, so much that was unintelligible has been explained, and so much internal resistance conquered, that there is no need to fear a repetition of the pathological processes concerned" (p. 219). But there is still another possible meaning of terminating an analysis: that the patient has reached a level of absolute psychic normality and there is every 240reason to expect that this state will endure. This, he felt, happens in some favourable cases.