Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Changes in Views on Termination between 1984 and 2009 - Estelle Shane

In this article, Estelle Shane is reviewing the changes between 1984 and 2009 in her thinking/position about issues in termination of an analysis.  The original article (Shane, M., and E. Shane (1984), The end phase of analysis: Indications, functions and tasks of termination. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn, 34:739–772) was co-authored with Morton Shane.
"This marks one important difference in my thinking about the concept of termination today that I will address shortly. I will argue, and attempt to illustrate, that psychoanalysis is a potentially continuing process. It entails an important relationship evolving over time between two people, two people committed to one another, and who doubtless may come to love one another in the course of their work together. This is a kind of love based in profound and mutual respect, concern, and caring for the other’s well being. In fact, Jonathan Lear (2003) has concluded that psychoanalysis itself is a manifestation of love. So I would argue that if the relationship that is formed in treatment has such deep and enduring meaning, in one sense it cannot, and in some cases, perhaps, should not, be terminated. . . I would emphasize now the individualistic and idiosyncratic nature of the entire analytic enterprise, including the way in which it ends. The attempt to generalize across dyads in this (or almost any) regard by establishing normative criteria seems highly mistaken. Although I imagine that the idea that treatment ends may exist either in strong central focus or as a silent background presence for both participants throughout their engagement, how that ending is thought of, whether as a date that, once established, should not be veered away from, or as something that inevitably must happen in some absolute way, or, alternatively, whether it may be thought of as a question to be kept open and open-ended, all of this should depend, as I will attempt to exemplify, upon the needs and proclivities of both members of the dyad. In another sense, of course, a more realistic sense, an analysis must end sometime, even if that time is reached only upon the death of one or the other participant (Hoffman, 1998). But short of one or the other’s demise, I think of criteria for ending treatment as being unique and specific to the dyad."
(p. 168-169)

Estelle Shane (2009) Approaching Termination: Ideal Criteria Versus Working Realities, Psychoanalytic Inquiry, Vol. 29, pp. 167–173.

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