1st Edition

Myths of Termination What patients can teach psychoanalysts about endings

By Judy Leopold Kantrowitz Copyright 2015
    188 Pages
    by Routledge

    188 Pages
    by Routledge

    Psychoanalysis can make a huge difference in the lives of patients, their families and others they encounter. Myths have developed, however, about how psychoanalysis should end – what patients experience and what analysts do. These expectations come primarily from accounts by analysts in the analytic literature which are often perpetuated in an oversimplified form in teaching. Patients' perspectives are rarely presented. I her book, Judy Leopold Kantrowitz seeks to address this omission. Exploring the accounts of 82 former analysands, she illustrates the rich diversity of psychoanalytic endings and ways of maintaining analytic benefits after ending; in presenting patients' experiences Kantrowitz provides correctives for some myths about termination.

    Myths of termination: What patients can teach psychoanalysts about endings is not a book that seeks to refute or support any specific idea about a best way of ending analysis, but rather to show that there are countless ways of having a satisfactory conclusion to the process. Nor is the author espousing any particular analytic theory. Kantrowitz sets out to show that an oversimplified view of psychoanalytic endings not only diminishes an appreciation of the diversity of psychoanalytic outcomes but may also interfere with the creativity of individual psychoanalysts. In this book, former analysands describe and illustrate how their analyses ended. They reflect on the effect of non-mutual endings due to external factors (moving, retirement, illness or death) or psychological factors (wishing to avoid facing some issue); the impact of post-analytic contact; and the ways in which they have held on to their analytic benefits after ending their analyses.

    Myths of termination confronts and refutes the myths about the termination phase of psychoanalysis that are passed from generation to generation. It is a refreshing and insightful study that will be welcomed by psychoanalysts, psychodynamic therapists, such as clinical psychologists, social workers, and others trained or in training to do clinical work.

    Acknowledgements. Introduction. A Short History of Termination: The Ideal Versus the Real - it Ain’t Necessarily so. Developments in the Ending of Psychoanalysis: Insight, Loss, and Mourning. Non-Mutual endings.The Effect of Post-analytic Contact. As Time Goes By: Ways of Keeping Analysis Alive. Afterwards: What we Learn. Reflections and Reconsiderations. Appendix.


    Judy Leopold Kantrowitz is a training and supervising analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and an Associate Clinical Professor at Harvard Medical School. She is on the Editorial Board of the Psychoanaltyic Quarterly and has a private practice in Brookline, MA.

    "This landmark book makes an invaluable contribution to the field of psychoanalysis. Undertaking a pioneering survey of the termination experiences of a sizable number of former analytic patients, Judy Kantrowitz has done us a most important service by dispelling a number of myths and false ideas concerning termination and the way that analyses are supposed to end. By providing us with fresh insights into the diverse ways that good treatments can end, Kantrowitz has essentially rewritten our understanding of the termination phase of analysis and analytic therapy.  This book is must reading for therapists of every persuasion". – Ted Jacobs, Training and Supervising Analyst, The New York Psychoanalytic Institute and The Institute forPsychoanalytic Education.

    "Through scores of direct quotes from articulate ex-analysands, Judy Kantrowitz gives us a constantly fresh series of snapshots of the remembered subjective experience of 'termination' - its delicacy, its gainful, and, especially, its disruptive potential. Because 'there but for the grace of God' go each one of us as working analysts, there are worlds of eye-opening lessons to be found here - not only in the quotations but in the author's categories of analysis themselves. The book will be of value to all clinicians, and is likely to find particular value in small peer discussion groups. By reporting raw material in close-up detail, Kantrowitz gives us a work-in-progress in a best sense: the work and the progress regarding termination is left in the hands of each one of us, now better informed. I found it absorbing". – Fred Pine, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

    "In her work Kantrowitz contributes to that current of psychoanalytical thought that privileges the careful study of what ‘we really do’ in our clinical practice, that is not always synonymous with what we believe or we say we do. However, as the author clarifies, "my point is not that anything goes". The conceptualization of experience and of its comprehension is what characterizes our psychoanalytical proposal to our patients. Because we believe that conceptualizations help them and us "to organize and contain intense emotional experiences" and to trace a pathway between the particular and the universal, we have privileged this type of practice. Reading this book helps us to get in touch with the vicissitudes of the emotional reality of experience without abandoning ourselves to the ineffable and the unutterable that sometimes insinuate themselves into our texts". - Jorge Canestri, M.D. Psychiatrist and training and supervising analyst of the Italian Psychoanalytical Association (A.I.Psi) and the Argentine Psychoanalytic Association (APA), former President of the Italian Psychoanalytical Association, Professor of Health Psychology until 2008 at Rome 3 University and Invited Professor at the Université Paris X, Nanterre 2009.