Difference between revisions of "Countertransference"

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countertransference (contre-transfert)                            Freud coined the        term
+
{{Top}}contre-[[transfert]]{{Bottom}}               
  
    'countertransference'    to designate     the analyst's     'unconscious feelings'
+
==Sigmund Freud==
 +
[[Freud]] coined the term "[[countertransference]]" to designate the [[analyst]]'s "[[countertransference|unconscious feelings]]" towards the [[patient]].
  
  towards the patient. Although Freud only used the term very rarely, it became
+
Although [[Freud]] only used the term very rarely, it became much more widely used in [[psychoanalytic theory]] after his [[death]].
  
  much more widely used in psychoanalytic theory after his death. In particular,
+
==After Freud==
 +
In [[particular]], [[analyst]]s soon [[divided]] over the [[role]] allotted to [[countertransference]] in discussions of [[technique]].
  
analysts soon divided over the role allotted to countertransference in discus-
+
On the one hand, many [[analyst]]s argued that [[countertransference]] manifestations were the result of incompletely analysed elements in the [[analyst]], and that such manifestations should therefore be reduced to a minimum by a more [[complete]] [[training]] [[analysis]].
  
  sions of technique. On the       one hand, many analysts argued that counter-
+
On the other hand, some [[analyst]]s from the [[Klein]]ian [[school]], beginning with Paula Heimann, argued that the [[analyst]] should be guided in his [[interpretation]]s by his own [[countertransference]] reactions, taking his own [[feelings]] as an indicator of the [[patient]]'s [[state]] of [[mind]].
  
  transference    manifestations    were  the   result    of incompletely analysed
+
Whereas the former group regarded [[countertransference]] as an obstacle to [[analysis]], the latter group regarded it as a useful tool.
  
  elements in the analyst, and that such manifestations should therefore be
+
==Jacques Lacan==
 +
In the 1950s, [[Lacan]] describes [[countertransference]] as a [[resistance]], an obstacle which hinders the [[progress]] of [[psychoanalytic]] [[treatment]].
  
  reduced to a minimum by a more complete training analysis. On the other
+
[[Countertransference]] is a [[resistance]] of the [[analyst]].
  
hand, some analysts from the Kleinian school, beginning with Paula Heimann,
+
Thus [[Lacan]] defines [[countertransference]] as "the sum of the prejudices, [[passion]]s, perplexities, and even the insufficient information of the [[analyst]] at a certain [[moment]] of the [[dialectic]]al [[process]]' of the [[treatment]]."<ref>{{Ec}} p. 225</ref>
  
argued that the analyst should be guided in his interpretations by his own
+
==Case Studies==
 +
[[Lacan]] refers to two of [[Freud]]'s [[case]] studies to illustrate what he means.
  
  countertransference reactions, taking his own feelings as an indicator of the
+
===Young Homosexual Woman===
 +
In 1957 [[Lacan]] presents a similar [[analysis]] of Freud's treatment of the young [[homosexual]] woman <ref>{{F}} (1920a [1918]) "[[Works of Sigmund Freud|The Psychogenesis of a Case of Female Homosexuality]]," [[SE]] XVIII, 147.</ref>.
  
patient's state of mind (Heimann, 1950). Whereas the former group regarded
+
He argues that when [[Freud]] [[interpreted]] the [[woman]]'s [[dream]] as expressing a [[wish]] to deceive him, he was focusing on the [[imaginary]] [[dimension]] of the [[woman]]'s [[transference]] rather than on the [[symbolic]] dimension.<ref>{{S4}} p. 135</ref>.  
  
  countertransference as an obstacle to analysis, the latter group regarded it as a
+
That is, [[Freud]] interpreted the [[dream]] as something directed at him personally, rather than as something directed at the [[Other]].
  
    useful tool.
+
[[Lacan]] argues that [[Freud]] did this because he found the [[woman]] attractive and because he [[identification|identified]] with the [[woman]]'s [[father]].<ref>{{S4}} p. 106-9</ref>.
 +
 +
Once again, [[Freud]]'s [[countertransference]] brought the [[treatment]] to a premature end, though this time it was [[Freud]] who decided to terminate it.
  
      In the 1950s, Lacan presents countertransference as a RESISTANCE, an obstacle
+
==Training==
 +
The preceding examples might seem to [[suggest]] that [[Lacan]] aligns himself with those [[analyst]]s who argue that the [[training]] [[analysis]] should give the [[analyst]] the capacity to transcend all [[affect|affective reactions]] to the [[patient]].
  
  which hinders the progress of psychoanalytic treatment. Like all resistances to
+
However, [[Lacan]] absolutely rejects this point of view, which he dismisses as a "stoical [[ideal]]".<ref>{{S8}} p.219</ref>.  
  
  treatment, countertransference is ultimately a resistance of the analyst. Thus
+
The [[training]] [[analysis]] does not put the [[analyst]] beyond [[passion]], and to believe that it does would be to believe that all the [[passion]]s stem from the [[unconscious]], an [[idea]] which [[Lacan]] rejects.  
  
  Lacan defines countertransference    as 'the   sum of the prejudices, passions,
+
==Desire of the Analyst==
 +
If anything, the better analysed the [[analyst]] is, the more likely he is to be frankly in [[love]] with, or be quite repulsed by, the [[analysand]].<ref>{{S8}} p. 220</ref>.
  
perplexities, and even the insufficient information of the analyst at a certain
+
If, then, the [[analyst]] does not [[act]] on the basis of these [[feeling]]s, it is not because his [[training]] [[analysis]] has drained away his [[passion]]s, but because it has given him a [[desire]] which is even stronger than those [[passion]]s, a [[desire]] which [[Lacan]] calls the [[desire of the analyst]].<ref>{{S8}} p. 220-1</ref>
  
  moment of the dialectical process' of the treatment (Ec, 225).
+
==Affect==
 +
Hence [[Lacan]] does not entirely reject Paula Heimann's [[position]].  
  
      Lacan refers to two of Freud's case studies to illustrate what he means. In
+
He accepts that [[analyst]]s have [[feeling]]s towards their [[patient]]s, and that sometimes the [[analyst]] can direct the [[treatment]] better by reflecting on these [[feeling]]s.  
  
  1951, he refers to the Dora case (Freud, 1905e), and argues that Freud's
+
For example, if [[Freud]] had reflected a bit more on his feelings towards the young homosexual [[woman]], he might have avoided [[interpreting]] her [[dream]] as a [[message]] addressed directly to him.<ref>{{S4}} p. 108</ref>.
  
countertransference was rooted in his belief that heterosexuality is natural
+
<blockquote>"No one has ever said that the [[analyst]] should never have feelings towards his [[patient]]. But he must [[know]] not only not to give into [[them]], to keep them in their [[place]], but also how to make adequate use of them in his technique."<ref>{{S1}} p.32</ref></blockquote>
  
  rather than normative, and in his identification with Herr K. Lacan argues
+
If [[countertransference]] is condemned by [[Lacan]], then, it is because he defines it not in [[terms]] of [[affect]]s felt by the [[analyst]], but as the [[analyst]]'s failure to use those [[affect]]s appropriately.
  
  that it was these two factors which caused Freud to handle the treatment badly
+
==Late Lacan==
 +
In the 1960s [[Lacan]] becomes very critical of the term [[countertransference]].
  
  and provoke the 'negative transference' which led to Dora breaking off the
+
He argues that it connotes a symmetrical [[relationship]] between the [[analyst]] and the [[analysand]], whereas the [[transference]] is anything but a symmetrical relationship.
  
  treatment (Lacan, 1951a).
+
When [[speaking]] of the [[analyst]]'s position it is both misleading and unnecessary to use the term [[countertransference]]; it is sufficient to [[speak]] of the different ways in which the [[analyst]] and [[analysand]] are implicated in the [[transference]].<ref>{{S8}} p. 233</ref>.  
  
      In 1957 Lacan presents a similar analysis of Freud's treatment of the young
+
<blockquote>"The [[transference]] is a phenomenon in which [[subject]] and [[psycho]]-analyst are both included. To [[divide]] it in terms of [[transference]] and [[counter-transference]] . . . is never more than a way of avoiding the [[essence]] of the matter."<ref>{{S11}} p. 231</ref></blockquote>
  
homosexual woman (Freud, 1920a). He argues that when Freud interpreted the
+
==See Also==
 +
{{See}}
 +
* [[Affect]]
 +
* [[Analyst]]
 +
||
 +
* [[Desire]]
 +
* [[Interpretation]]
 +
||
 +
* [[Training]]
 +
* [[Transference]]
 +
||
 +
* [[Treatment]]
 +
* [[Unconscious]]
 +
{{Also}}
  
  woman's dream as expressing a wish to deceive him, he was focusing on the
+
==References==
 +
<div style="font-size:11px" class="references-small">
 +
<references/>
 +
</div>
  
imaginary dimension of the woman's transference rather than on the symbolic
+
[[Category:Psychoanalysis]]
 
+
[[Category:Jacques Lacan]]
  dimension (S4, 135). That is, Freud interpreted the dream            as something
+
[[Category:Treatment]]
 
+
[[Category:Practice]]
  directed at him personally, rather than      as something directed at the Other.
+
[[Category:Dictionary]]
 
+
[[Category:Language]]
 
+
[[Category:Symbolic]]
 
+
[[Category:Concepts]]
 
+
[[Category:Terms]]
 
+
[[Category:OK]]
 
+
__NOTOC__
    Lacan argues that Freud did this because he found the woman attractive and
 
 
 
    because he identified with the woman's father (S4, 106-9). Once again,
 
 
 
    Freud's countertransference brought the treatment to a premature end, though
 
 
 
    this time it was Freud who decided to terminate it.
 
 
 
      The preceding examples might seem to suggest that Lacan aligns himself
 
 
 
    with those analysts who argue that the training analysis should give the analyst
 
 
 
    the capacity to transcend all affective reactions to the patient. However, Lacan
 
 
 
absolutely rejects this point of view, which he dismisses as a 'stoical ideal'
 
 
 
    (S8, 219). The training analysis does not put the analyst beyond passion, and to
 
 
 
    believe that it does would be to believe that all the passions stem from the
 
 
 
    unconscious, an idea which Lacan rejects. If anything, the better analysed the
 
 
 
analyst is, the more likely he is to be frankly in love with, or be quite repulsed
 
 
 
by, the analysand (S8, 220). If, then, the analyst does not act on the basis of
 
 
 
    these feelings, it is not because his training analysis has drained away his
 
 
 
passions, but because it has given him a desire which is even stronger than
 
 
 
    those passions,  a desire which Lacan calls the DESIRE OF THE ANALYST (S8,
 
 
 
    220-1).
 
 
 
      Hence Lacan does not entirely reject Paula Heimann's position. He accepts
 
 
 
    that analysts have feelings towards their patients, and that sometimes the
 
 
 
analyst can direct the treatment better by reflecting on these feelings. For
 
 
 
example, if Freud had reflected a bit more on his feelings towards the young
 
 
 
    homosexual woman, he might have avoided interpreting her dream            as  a
 
 
 
    message addressed directly to him (S4, 108).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
      No one has ever said that the analyst should never have feelings towards his
 
 
 
      patient. But he must know not only not to give into them, to keep them in
 
 
 
      their place, but also how to make adequate use of them in his technique.
 
 
 
                                                                                                                  (Sl, 32)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
    If countertransference is condemned by Lacan, then, it is because he defines it
 
 
 
    not in terms of affects felt by the analyst, but as the analyst's failure to use
 
 
 
    those affects appropriately.
 
 
 
      In the 1960s Lacan becomes very critical of the term countertransference.
 
 
 
    He argues that it connotes a symmetrical relationship between the analyst and
 
 
 
    the analysand, whereas the transference is anything but a symmetrical relation-
 
 
 
ship. When speaking of the analyst's position it is both misleading and
 
 
 
    unnecessary to use the term countertransference; it is sufficient to speak of
 
 
 
    the different ways in which the analyst and analysand are implicated in the
 
 
 
    transference (S8, 233). 'The transference is a phenomenon in which subject
 
 
 
    and psycho-analyst are both included. To divide it in terms of transference and
 
 
 
    counter-transference . . . is never more than a way of avoiding the essence of
 
 
 
    the matter' (Sll, 231).
 

Latest revision as of 22:42, 15 January 2020

French: [[contre-transfert]]

Sigmund Freud

Freud coined the term "countertransference" to designate the analyst's "unconscious feelings" towards the patient.

Although Freud only used the term very rarely, it became much more widely used in psychoanalytic theory after his death.

After Freud

In particular, analysts soon divided over the role allotted to countertransference in discussions of technique.

On the one hand, many analysts argued that countertransference manifestations were the result of incompletely analysed elements in the analyst, and that such manifestations should therefore be reduced to a minimum by a more complete training analysis.

On the other hand, some analysts from the Kleinian school, beginning with Paula Heimann, argued that the analyst should be guided in his interpretations by his own countertransference reactions, taking his own feelings as an indicator of the patient's state of mind.

Whereas the former group regarded countertransference as an obstacle to analysis, the latter group regarded it as a useful tool.

Jacques Lacan

In the 1950s, Lacan describes countertransference as a resistance, an obstacle which hinders the progress of psychoanalytic treatment.

Countertransference is a resistance of the analyst.

Thus Lacan defines countertransference as "the sum of the prejudices, passions, perplexities, and even the insufficient information of the analyst at a certain moment of the dialectical process' of the treatment."[1]

Case Studies

Lacan refers to two of Freud's case studies to illustrate what he means.

Young Homosexual Woman

In 1957 Lacan presents a similar analysis of Freud's treatment of the young homosexual woman [2].

He argues that when Freud interpreted the woman's dream as expressing a wish to deceive him, he was focusing on the imaginary dimension of the woman's transference rather than on the symbolic dimension.[3].

That is, Freud interpreted the dream as something directed at him personally, rather than as something directed at the Other.

Lacan argues that Freud did this because he found the woman attractive and because he identified with the woman's father.[4].

Once again, Freud's countertransference brought the treatment to a premature end, though this time it was Freud who decided to terminate it.

Training

The preceding examples might seem to suggest that Lacan aligns himself with those analysts who argue that the training analysis should give the analyst the capacity to transcend all affective reactions to the patient.

However, Lacan absolutely rejects this point of view, which he dismisses as a "stoical ideal".[5].

The training analysis does not put the analyst beyond passion, and to believe that it does would be to believe that all the passions stem from the unconscious, an idea which Lacan rejects.

Desire of the Analyst

If anything, the better analysed the analyst is, the more likely he is to be frankly in love with, or be quite repulsed by, the analysand.[6].

If, then, the analyst does not act on the basis of these feelings, it is not because his training analysis has drained away his passions, but because it has given him a desire which is even stronger than those passions, a desire which Lacan calls the desire of the analyst.[7]

Affect

Hence Lacan does not entirely reject Paula Heimann's position.

He accepts that analysts have feelings towards their patients, and that sometimes the analyst can direct the treatment better by reflecting on these feelings.

For example, if Freud had reflected a bit more on his feelings towards the young homosexual woman, he might have avoided interpreting her dream as a message addressed directly to him.[8].

"No one has ever said that the analyst should never have feelings towards his patient. But he must know not only not to give into them, to keep them in their place, but also how to make adequate use of them in his technique."[9]

If countertransference is condemned by Lacan, then, it is because he defines it not in terms of affects felt by the analyst, but as the analyst's failure to use those affects appropriately.

Late Lacan

In the 1960s Lacan becomes very critical of the term countertransference.

He argues that it connotes a symmetrical relationship between the analyst and the analysand, whereas the transference is anything but a symmetrical relationship.

When speaking of the analyst's position it is both misleading and unnecessary to use the term countertransference; it is sufficient to speak of the different ways in which the analyst and analysand are implicated in the transference.[10].

"The transference is a phenomenon in which subject and psycho-analyst are both included. To divide it in terms of transference and counter-transference . . . is never more than a way of avoiding the essence of the matter."[11]

See Also

References