Patients Often Contact Therapist after Termination of Psychoanalysis. (Medication Management Common)

By Sherman, Carl | Clinical Psychiatry News, April 2003 | Go to article overview

Patients Often Contact Therapist after Termination of Psychoanalysis. (Medication Management Common)


Sherman, Carl, Clinical Psychiatry News


NEW YORK -- When psychoanalysis is over, it isn't all over. Heretical as it may seem to some purists, posttermination contact is frequent. In fact, most analysts are open to it, and many actively encourage it, Dr. Suzanne Yang reported in a poster presentation at a meeting sponsored by the American Psychoanalytic Association.

In a substantial minority of cases, the role of analyst changes to that of psychopharmacologist, said Dr. Yang, a postdoctoral fellow of the Columbia Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, New York.

Little attention so far has been paid to the role of contact with patients after the end of analysis, Some authors maintain that none should be needed and suggest that a patient's return casts doubt on the completeness of treatment. Others argue that the therapeutic relationship survives termination and that patients stand to benefit from renewed contact over time.

The current study surveyed 181 graduates of the Columbia Psychoanalytic Center who were asked about their three most recently terminated analyses. Sixty percent (109) returned the survey, reporting on 241 cases, Dr. Yang said.

The analyses had lasted a mean of 4-5 years.

In 85% of cases (210), regular contact ended with the termination of analysis. Among these, more than three-fourths (187) of patients raised the possibility of future contact, and 87% of analysts (162) indicated their availability. When the subject was not broached by the patients, it was raised by the analyst in half of cases. …

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