4 Pages

Commentary (GW) on Chapter Five: Termination reconsidered

ByJonathan Pedder

When it comes to the challenge of ending in therapeutic encounters, Pedder has some suggestions as to how the rather bleak notion of “termination” might be reconsidered. Pedder does not actually call Freud to account for the origination of the idea of termination; rather, he questions the way in which it was popularized by followers (see, for example, Bridger, 1950; Klein, 1950). Pedder reviews Freud’s original idea of “Die Endliche und die Unendliche Analyse” and argues that it has been prone to problematic translations into the English language. He points out that a translator’s choice of the word “termination” might arouse negative connotations, with overtones of “terminal cancer” or “termination of pregnancy”. The idea of termination, he argues, does not do justice to the fact that psychoanalytic therapy is concerned with the internalization of healthier ways of being, and that the process of ending becomes a new beginning where the therapy is internalized and therefore ongoing. While not denying the importance of working through phases of disappointment and arriving at a point of a realistic sense of loss, Pedder challenges the psychoanalytic image, perpetuated by patients and practitioners alike, of endings as a foreboding event.