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The function of the analyst's boundaries in the psychoanalytic relationship

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Two definitions of the concept of analytic boundaries—the analyst's boundaries in the analytic relationship and the boundary between analyst and patient—focus, respectively, on the analytic function and the analytic relationship. A long analysis of a 20-year-old girl is characterized by the analytic work being slowed down by her chronic tendency to arrive late. A miscarriage very early in her pregnancy, occurring almost at the end of the analysis, produces associations and fantasies on 'crushed' fetuses and children. It also encourages reflection on the importance of the analytic space, equated by the analyst with the womb, in fostering the development of fetal aspects of the self that do not develop. In the clinical material from two sessions 4 months before termination, two analytic events—the introduction in the analytic field of the character of the autistic child and the episode of self-disclosure—mark a turning point in the analytic process. In the discussion, the author demonstrates the creative and mutative effects of alterations in technique and style of working, changes that might be seen as a breach of her analytic boundaries and a transgression in relation to her theoretical frame of reference.
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Keywords: Boundaries; analytic space; autism; self-disclosure; symbolization; technique implications

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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