In this introductory talk I referred to two texts from the beginning and end of Freud’s psychoanalytic work to draw out a couple of questions regarding the end of analysis. First, the question of ‘the remnant’, i.e. that which remains unresolved; second, the question of where the analyst is in the eyes of the patient if and when the transference is dissolved. The limits of analysis, whilst being intimately connected with a process of mourning (of objects as well as illusions), are not entirely devoid of comical potential.
In my talk, I was interested in showing an example of the transference to the patient by the therapist. This was by way of elucidating the complexity of the work, the potential persistence of unconscious defenses in the therapist despiteyears of analysis and supervision, and the danger of idealising the therapist.
I looked at different views of the end of analysis, contrasting those which saw it as an ideal point to be attained and those which saw it as a beginning, the establishment of a process. This was linked with the common confusion between the end of analysis and the analysand starting to practice, which is often a way to avoid pushing analysis further.
The College and the Guild of Psychotherapists share a code of ethics which, if read literally, prohibits the ending of analytic relationships. I discuss the implications, for the patient and the therapist, of a colleague’s formal complaint against me, based on such a reading of the Guild’s code. I try to explore, in relation to this experience, some of the moralistic and authoritarian ‘basic assumptions’ with which psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic organisations attempt to disavow the insecurities and anxieties of engaging in and ending their relationships with their patients.
I reviewed my history as an analysand, looking at the effect of transference interpretation in my first analysis. How the long-lasting effects of what felt like the imposition of something which was to do with the analyst were eventually dissipated over the next few years and a second analysis more in the Lacanian tradition of interpretation ‘in’ the transference rather than ‘of’ the transference.