chapter  7
18 Pages

COMMITMENT AND BOUNDARIES

When I took my first class in analytic technique, I was a candidate at an analytic institute that made much of what was called "the commitment conflicts," which were said to be common if not universal in patients who were beginning psychoanalytic therapy. This conflict, which focused on allowing oneself to participate fully in the analytic process, involved the fear of regression and its concomitant ills. One would be exposed, would be subject to the control of another person, and would thereby soon have to relinquish the supposed gains that accrued from being sick and having symptoms-if and when a real commitment were to be made to the process. Not surprisingly, such a commitment turned out regularly to comprise an accommodation to the requirements or demands of the analyst. These requirements were the framework of treatment, and they involved the rules and regulations of an analysis, including fees, times, and a host of other issues that were enlisted as analytic lore. Any rebellion or resistance to a fairly rapid accommodation to the requirements of the analyst raised the question of a commitment conflict and the resultant corresponding assumption that this was the primary resistance to be reckoned with and interpreted. Ordinarily most of the conflicts seemed to vanish with time

and regular analytic confrontation about resistance. In retrospect, one can never be sure if the resistance vanished with interpretation or crumbled with compliance. What will be considered here is whether the appearance of conformity with the requirement of analysis was genuine, involving a unified self, or whether it was essentially a half-hearted compliance.