Freud coined the term "countertransference" to designate the analyst's "unconscious feelings" towards the paitnet.
On the one hand, many analysts argued that counter-transference 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.
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.
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..
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.
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]].
Hence Lacan does not entirely reject Paula Heimann's position.
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.
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 .
"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.".
Countertransference is a term in psychotherapy, denoting a condition where the therapist, as a result of the therapy sessions, begins to transfer the therapist's own repressed feelings to the patient.
It is also defined as the entire body of feelings that the therapist has toward the patient.
Countertransference is defined in oppositon to transference, where a person in therapy begins to transfer feelings to the therapist.
For example, the person in therapy may begin to look at the therapist as if the therapist were the patient's mother, transferring their feelings for the real mother to the therapist.
This is considered a positive sign in psychoanalytic therapy, showing that the patient is making progress.
In On Becoming a Counselor, Eugene Kennedy states that countertransferencehas the potential to be present in any counseling relationship.
He states that it is often one of the biggest challenges for a new counselor to overcome, and while there is no way to totally overcome the problem of counter-transference learning to not let countertransferenceaffect a counseling relationship is key.
The mantra "only connect" is often associated with this effect.
- Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p.225
- Lacan, 1951a
- Freud, 1920a
- Lacan, Jacques. Le Séminaire. Livre IV. La relation d'objet, 19566-57. Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller. Paris: Seuil, 1991. p.135
- Lacan, Jacques. Le Séminaire. Livre IV. La relation d'objet, 19566-57. Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller. Paris: Seuil, 1991. p.106-9
- Lacan, Jacques. Le Séminaire. Livre VIII. Le transfert, 1960-61. Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller. Paris: Seuil, 1991. p.219
- Lacan, Jacques. Le Séminaire. Livre VIII. Le transfert, 1960-61. Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller. Paris: Seuil, 1991. p.220
- Lacan, Jacques. Le Séminaire. Livre VIII. Le transfert, 1960-61. Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller. Paris: Seuil, 1991. p.220-1
- Lacan, Jacques. Le Séminaire. Livre IV. La relation d'objet, 19566-57. Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller. Paris: Seuil, 1991. p.108
- Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book I. Freud's Papers on Technique, 1953-54. Trans. John Forrester. New York: Nortion; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. p.32
- Lacan, Jacques. Le Séminaire. Livre VIII. Le transfert, 1960-61. Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller. Paris: Seuil, 1991. p.233
- Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book XI. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, 1964. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1977. p.231