Good Enough Endings: Breaks, Interruptions, and Terminations from Contemporary Relational Perspectives, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Good Enough Endings

Breaks, Interruptions, and Terminations from Contemporary Relational Perspectives, 1st Edition

Edited by Jill Salberg


342 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780415994538
pub: 2010-03-25
Hardback: 9780415994521
pub: 2010-03-25
Currently out of stock
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203888254
pub: 2011-01-19
from $24.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


In the relational literature, the subject of termination - the ending of an analysis - has received scant attention, and traditional Freudian or ego-psychological criteria are not always enough to assess the readiness to terminate therapy in the coconstructed, intersubjective analytic relationship. Good Enough Endings seeks to remedy this gap, bringing together contributions from contemporary relational thinkers, while at the same time engaging with ideas from other psychoanalytic perspectives. Topics given consideration include:

  • Can there be a relational criteria or paradigm for termination, and what would it include?
  • How do treatment goals of the analyst and/or that of the patient affect the decision to terminate?
  • How do recent developments in attachment theory and research influence the preparation to end analysis?
  • What occurs for the patient after termination, and how do we assess the need for follow-up?

Integrating elements of existing psychoanalytic theory with the fruits of the relational turn, Good Enough Endings expands and expounds upon the relational considerations in ending analysis, providing a resource for reflection and insight into the final - and perhaps most difficult - aspect of psychoanalytic treatment.


"In Good Enough Endings, Jill Salberg has given us a treasure. Psychoanalyses have to end. This has always been understood and more or less accepted by both patients and analysts. What rarely has been acknowledged openly is that the same logic cannot easily be applied to understanding why the ending of the personal relationship is so difficult for a patient to accept (work through) as simply a reasonable part of what is lost when the professional relationship 'terminates.' Transference explanations notwithstanding, this thorn in the side of psychoanalytic theory has never been systematically explored in a single volume from a perspective that fully respects psychoanalytic treatment in its personal as well as professional aspects. That is, until Salberg's extraordinary accomplishment.

Long pleading for a relational renewal, the topic of termination is here endowed with fresh life by some of the most inspired thinkers writing today, but take note - this volume is more than a collection of individual essays. Within the broad spectrum of analytic schools represented in its 16 exquisitely selected chapters, what gives the book its defining character is the openly relational sensibility that runs through it, relatively independent of traditional psychoanalytic differences. Personally moving vignettes, many of them unforgettable, are framed by a new clinical understanding of 'termination' in light of contemporary research that unites mind, brain, and human relatedness - an understanding that speaks to a unique bond within which the process of saying goodbye to a relationship is not reducible to the successful completion of a treatment. I discovered in almost every chapter a way of looking at 'endings' that was so reenlightening I found myself a bit envious of the recently minted analysts who will have a chance to read Salberg's volume during their professional 'beginnings.'" - Philip M. Bromberg, Ph.D., author, Awakening the Dreamer (2006) and Standing in the Spaces (1998)

"As Jill Salberg points out in her introduction to this timely book, our ideas about how treatment can and does end have not kept up with the many changes in our thinking about psychoanalysis and dynamic psychotherapy. The authors represented in this volume, most but not all of whom identify with contemporary relational psychoanalysis, grapple with the vexing problems involved in terminating a complex and often intimate relationship. Their various perspectives will certainly start an overdue, much needed conversation." - Jay Greenberg, Ph.D., Training and Supervising Analyst, William Alanson White Institute

Table of Contents

Salberg, Introduction. Part I: Termination: Theories and Positions. Salberg, Historical Overview. Bergmann, Termination: The Achilles Heel of Psychoanalytic Technique. Britton, There is No End of the Line: Terminating the Interminable. Bernstein, Beyond the Bedrock. Holmes, Termination in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy: An Attachment Perspective. Davies, Transformation of Desire and Despair: Reflections on the Termination Process from a Relational Perspective. Part II: On the Clinical Frontier. Salberg, How We End: Taking Leave. Grand, Termination as Necessary Madness. Cooper, The Changing Firmament: Familiar and Unfamiliar Forms of Engagement During Termination. Silverman, Will You Remember Me? Termination and Continuity. Layton, Maternal Resistance. Part III: Musings on the Multiple Meanings of Ending. Reis, Afterwardness and Termination. Skolnick, Termination in Psychoanalysis: It's About Time. Goldman, Parting Ways. Glennon, Relational Analyses: Are They More Difficult to Terminate? Bass, "It Ain't Over Till It's Over": Infinite Conversations, Imperfect Endings, and the Elusive Nature of Termination.

About the Editor

Jill Salberg, Ph.D., is an adjunct clinical associate professor at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and a member of the faculty at the Stephen A. Mitchell Center for Relational Psychoanalysis. In addition, she is on the faculty of the National Institute for the Psychotherapies and a training supervisor at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy. She has published articles in Psychoanalytic Dialogues and Studies in Gender and Sexuality and has contributed chapters to The Jewish World of Sigmund Freud and Answering a Question with a Question: Judaism and Contemporary Psychoanalysis.

About the Series

Relational Perspectives Book Series

The Relational Perspectives Book Series (RPBS) publishes books that grow out of or contribute to the relational tradition in contemporary psychoanalysis. The term relational psychoanalysis was first used by Greenberg and Mitchell (1983) to bridge the traditions of interpersonal relations, as developed within interpersonal psychoanalysis and object relations, as developed within contemporary British theory. But, under the seminal work of the late Stephen Mitchell, the term relational psychoanalysis grew and began to accrue to itself many other influences and developments. Various tributaries—interpersonal psychoanalysis, object relations theory, self psychology, empirical infancy research, and elements of contemporary Freudian and Kleinian thought—flow into this tradition, which understands relational configurations between self and others, both real and fantasied, as the primary subject of psychoanalytic investigation.  

We refer to the relational tradition, rather than to a relational school, to highlight that we are identifying a trend, a tendency within contemporary psychoanalysis, not a more formally organized or coherent school or system of beliefs. Our use of the term relational signifies a dimension of theory and practice that has become salient across the wide spectrum of contemporary psychoanalysis. Now under the editorial supervision of Lewis Aron and Adrienne Harris with the assistance of Associate Editors Steven Kuchuck and Eyal Rozmarin, the Relational Perspectives Book Series originated in 1990 under the editorial eye of the late Stephen A. Mitchell. Mitchell was the most prolific and influential of the originators of the relational tradition. He was committed to dialogue among psychoanalysts and he abhorred the authoritarianism that dictated adherence to a rigid set of beliefs or technical restrictions. He championed open discussion, comparative and integrative approaches, and he promoted new voices across the generations.  

Included in the Relational Perspectives Book Series are authors and works that come from within the relational tradition, extend and develop the tradition, as well as works that critique relational approaches or compare and contrast it with alternative points of view. The series includes our most distinguished senior psychoanalysts along with younger contributors who bring fresh vision.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis