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Copyright 1968 by
Genevieve T. De Racker
Daniel Racker
Diego Racker

Reprinted 1982 with permission of

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Foreword page vii
Preface: Heinrich Racker I g 10-1 96I (Ma& Langer) ix
I Psycho-Analytic Technique

2 Classical and Present Techniques in Psycho-Analysis

3 Considerations on the Theory of Transference
4 Analysis of Transference through the Patient's
Relations with the Interpretation
5 The Countertransference Neurosis
6 The Meanings and Uses of Countertransference
7 Psycho-Analytic Technique and the Analyst's
Unconscious Masochism
8 Psycho-Analytic Technique and the Analayst's
Unconscious Mania
g Counterresistance and Interpretation
During the last two decades there have been striking develop-
ments in psycho-analytic theory, notably in ego psychology and
in the role of object relations in personality functioning. These
changes have inevitably carried implications for technique, and
views on these aspects are now being formulated more system-
atically in the light of experience. The late Dr Heinrich Racker
was a notable contributor in this endeavour, and this volume
brings together his main papers.
As he describes in his introduction, his studies do not consti-
tute a comprehensive account of the history and principles of
the psycho-analytic method. Instead, these papers relate almost
entirely to one of the newer lines of thought devoted to elucid-
ating the ways in which the psycho-analyst's own responses to
his analysand influence the joint venture that is every psycho-
analysis. In no other branch of knowledge are the instruments
of investigation so intimately related to the personality of the
investigator, and Dr Racker's work is a manifestation of the
concern of psycho-analysts to keep their method under constant
Dr Racker's untimely death was a great loss to psycho-analysis
and above all to the devoted group of his colleagues in the
Argentine. It seemed most fitting that as a preface to his papers
there should be included a brief obituary notice by his friend
Dr Marie Langer. Even from this short account, there emerges
a remarkably gifted and cultured man who brought great sensi-
tivity and integrity to his passionate concern for improving the
work of the psycho-analyst.


Racker's early and unexpected death-he was just 50 years

old-after a brief and dramatic illness signified an irreparable
loss for everyone: for his wife and children, his patients, dis-
ciples, and colleagues, and for us, his friends. But it was also a
grave loss for our Association and for psycho-analysis, the science
he passionately loved.
Heinrich Racker had a difficult life, as is characteristic of our
era. He was born in Poland in aJewish family four years before
the outbreak of the First World War. When the war started his
family had to flee to Vienna. During the first years life was
extremely hard, bui little by little the situation improved. After
having finished his secondary schooling, Heinrich, already in-
terested in psycho-analysis, would have liked to study medicine,
but the economic crisis of 1928 curtailed his plans. His father
had serious monetary difficulties at that time, and young Heinrich
decided to contribute to the support of his family. An excellent
pianist, he obtained a job as professor at the Vienna Conserva-
tory, at the same time studying psychology and musicology at
the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters. In a brief autobiograph-
ical study he referred to this part of his life in the following
terms: 'Nature had endowed me with a gift that filled me with
happiness, that of feeling music intensely and enjoying philoso-
phic, scientific, and literary creations. And even more, I found
teachers of great capacity who became first my guides and then
my friends; they opened new worlds to me and stimulated me
to improve my own aptitudes.' Once graduated, he thought of
attaining his goal, for he started his training analysis and entered
the Faculty of Medicine. Nevertheless, his country's invasion by
the Nazis soon forced him to a new flight. When he reached
Buenos Aires in I 939, his first preoccupation was to earn enough
to start his analysis once more. This he achieved, and in 1947
he became an associate member of the young Argentine As-
sociation. In 1950 he was elected a full member, and as little as
From the Int. 3. Psydho-Ad. (1962), 43.
one year later, owing to his great capacity for training and
investigation, he became a training analyst. Thus he was able
to fulfil his old dream and to dedicate himself to research and
teaching in psycho-analysis. Regarding this he wrote, in the
study already mentioned: 'To be able to alleviate the suffering
of other human beings and to contribute a little to the know-
ledge of how to do this, was what I desired since a long time ago
and with particular intensity.'
Racker's modesty made him describe his contribution as a
little one. An untiring and patient teacher, profoundiy dedi-
cated to teaching- he was very active in this respect, and when
death surprised him he was head of the Institute of Psycho-
Analysis-he was especially interested in two subjects to which
he devoted numerous publications and two books, Psycho-Analysis
of the Spirit and Studies on Psycho-Analytic Technique. In the former,
based on his very extensive cultural knowledge, he dealt with
subjects so different as religion, music, philosophy, character
and destiny, a theatrical play, and a film. The leitmotif of this
investigation in such different fields is the concept of unity within
multiplicity, peculiar to ancient wisdom. O n putting the reader
into contact with this, Racker 're-links' it with our current
psycho-analytic knowledge. His attitudecould be defined as that
of re-linking what had at one time been related-religion and
music, for instance-thus defending Eros who unites what is
His most fundamental contributions to technique are his far-
reaching and very complete studies on countertransference. The
fact that these have been included in the study programmes of
several North and South American Institutes of psycho-analysis
confirms their importance. It is no accident that Racker's most
important discoveries belong to the field of the countertrans-
ference. They were possible thanks to his profound gift of em-
pathy and self-observation and his deep love for truth. But his
studies on technique, outside the field of the countertransference,
are fundamental too, and are based on his profound conviction
of the goodness of the human being. 'The neurotic patient
suffers because he is good' he used to repeat to his disciples.
Having been invited by the Menninger School as a Sloan
visiting professor, he was preparing for his trip when he learned
of the fatal diagnosis. He knew that he suffered from a very
advanced cancer. He envisaged this with deep sorrow but with
absolute fortitude. During the short time remaining to him he
devoted himself to those closest to him. But his illness did not
keep him from continuing to be interested in all the problems
of his profession, of his patients, and his projects. He continued
to be specially dedicated to his last and favourite plan: the
creation of a psycho-analytic clinic within the framework of the
Argentine Association. This clinic was inaugurated a short time
after his death, and today it bears the name of Heinrich Racker
as a sign of acknowledgement and gratitude.
We all miss him very much and feel his absence from our
meetings and scientific discussions, now deprived of his clear,
intelligent, and brilliant interventions that always tended to
clarify, to help to understand and integrate, in a constant search
for truth.
I n the first place I would like to tell the rcadcr, in a few words,
about what he will find in these 'Studies', and then refer to the
book as a whole.
The first chapter is an 'Introduction to Psycho-Analytic
Technique'. The basic principles of analytic technique are
pointed out, the way in which Freud came to establish them,
and how these principles derive from the selfsame nature of
psychological disorders and conflicts. Thus, at thc same time
the chapter contains a rcview of the cvolution of psycho-
analytic technique, of its past and its prcscnt. No previous
knowledge of psycho-analysis is expccted from the readcr since
the meaning of each of its fundamental co~lccptsis cxplaincd.
While the introductory chapter is dircctcd, then, to tllose who
know little or nothing of analytic technique, thc remaining
chapters presuppose a ccrtain knowledge, at least of thc Intro-
duction, but often much more, for they arc destined for students
of psycho-analysis and for analysts themselves.
Tlle second chaptcr, 'Classical and Present Techniques in
Psycho-Analysis', takes up each one of the main tcchnical
problems and deals with it in detail, discussing thc diircrent
positions which diversc 'periods' and 'schools' (or 'trends')
have taken towards these problclns within the psycllo-analytic
movement. At the same timc, this chapter, the most extcnsi\lc
one, tries to present a vicw of analytic technique as a wholc, no
longer elementary (as in the first chapter), but now with the
depth current knowlcdge has attained.
Studies of specif;c technical topics begin with the next chap-
ters, the first two (Chapters 3 and 4) being centrcd on what
constitutes the axis of the analytic process, that is the transfer-
mce, while the following oncs arc ccntrcd on what constitutes
the counterpart of the transfcrencc in the analytic situation, its
complement in the analyst, that is tlie countcrtran~rencr.I have
given special attention to thc coulltcrtrarlsfcrcncc partly bccausc
of the important role it plays in thc analytic proccss, and partly
becausc it has, until n short timc ago, bcen tllc Cindcrclla of
psycho-analytic investigation.
The third chaptcr, 'Considcrations on thc Thcory of Trans-
ference', contains, in the first part, a contribution to thc problem
of trarcfermc~ d,rramics. In the second part I attempt to clarifj.
the role of the transference in the analytic process, a much-discussed
topic in the history of psycho-analysis.
The fourth chapter continues the theme of the transfcrencc,
but this time attention is predominantly focused on Practical
problems instead of theoretical ones. It deals with the 'Analysis
of Transference through the Patient's Relation with the Inter-
pretation', that is to say, with the analyst's principal activity.
The analysis of the patient's relation to the interpretation con-
stitutes one of the most important means of rendering conscious
and 'dissolving' the 'transference neurosis'. A considerable
number of examples (referring to the different phases of psycho-
sexual evolution which are expressed in those transference
relations) tend to help the young analyst in the executi0.n of
this difficult task. At the same time, but in a secondary way,
some problems of a theoretical-practical nature are dealt with
(stratification, etc.)
The object of the fifth chapter, 'Countertransference Neuro-
sis', is to study the psychopathological processes which are wont to
take place in the analyst, with greater or lesser intensity, in his
relation to the patient. To render these processes conscious can
and must help to keep them from influencing the analyst's work.
The sixth paper constitutes an extensive study of 'The
Meanings and Uses of Countertransference'. While in the
previous paper attention was directed mainly to the counter-
transference as a danger to the function of the analyst, in this
new study interest is focused predominantly on the counter-
transference as a technical imtnrmcnt, that is, as an essential means
to the understanding of the psychological processes (and specially
the transference processes) of the patient. The role of the counter-
tramfercnce in the process of the patient's internal transformation
is studied in an equally careful way, that is to say, the influence
of the countertransference in the destiny of the transference,
and in the patient's possibility of working through the latter
and of overcoming the vicious circle of his neurosis.
The seventh and eighth chapters 'Psycho-Analytic Technique
and the Analyst's Unconscious Masochism' and 'Psycho-
Analytic Technique and the Analyst's Unconscious Maniay-
are attempts at clarifying the influences which certain charactero-
logical or charucteropathic traits of the analyst may have upon
analytic technique. I point out a series of specific errors (arising
from these character disturbances) which should serve to render
conscious and overcome such tendencies which are harmful to
the conduct of a psycho-analytic treatment.
The ninth (and last) chapter, 'Counterresistance and Inter-
pretation', deals with some unconscious processes in the analyst
which inhibit or even hinder him in giving adequate interpre-
tations, even if he has understood the patient's psychological
situation in part. Given the fact that such counterresistances to
the interpretative task appear rather frequently, and given the
cardinal importance of the patient's internal situations in which
those counterresistances of the analyst take place, this technical
problem is equally of great importance.
I would like to add something about the development of
this book and about the book as a whole. Ever since I began to
work as an analyst, I was impressed and preoccupied with the
remarkablc gap existing between the great extension and depth
of psycho-analytic knowledge on the one hand, and the limita-
tions in rendering this knowledge effective in the psychological
transformation of patients on the other. It was this preoccupa-
tion which moved me to investigate technical problems again
and again, and it was the principal motive for the elaboration
of the studies contained in this book. This gap between know-
ledge and realization, and even the gap between the scientific
interest of analysts in both types of problems, has been pointed
out by various authors, for instance, by Freud (in 'Analysis
Terminable and Interminable'), by Fenichel (in Problems of
Psychoanalytic Technique), and by others. It was not, therefore, a
subjective impression on my part; objectively, much was still
lacking in the elucidation of technical problems. Almost since
the beginnings of psycho-analysis the working-through of the
transference had shown itself to be the central technical task;
and a considerable number of profound and enlightening
papers on this topic existed, though not nearly as many as it
warranted. On the other hand, the countertransference, the
counterpart and complement, was a subject almost untouched
before the late 1940's. At the same time it was clear that the
scientific silence which reigned to such a high degree with
respect to countertransference phenomena and problems, con-
stituted a serious obstacle for the perception and understand-
ing of the transference. For the countertransference is the living
response to the transference, and if the former is silenced, the
latter cannot reach the fullness of life and knowledge.
Thus I first focused my interest on the countertransference,
and in 1948 set forth the first results of my studies, affirming
and showing the existence of a countGrtrmferntcc neurosis which,
although generally with a mild intensity, is wont to appear in
the analyst as a response to the patient's transfcrence neurosis.
My next object of study was the transfcrencc neurosis. By
means of this approach I believe I have more fully grasped
the 'stratification' of neuroses in general, and the dynamics of
the transference in the analytic process in particular. From
the four papers on this subject which between 1949 and 1952
I read before the Argentine Psychoanalytic Association, only
one ('Considerations on the Theory of Transference') appears
in this book, since it is the only one of a purely 'tcchnical'
nature. The sccond paper (Chapter 4 in this book) deals
predominantly with transfercnce problems and also takes up
the question of the stratification of the 'transfercncc neurosis'.
I then returned to the study of the countcrtransference.
First I wrote a short papcr, 'On the Confusion betwcen Mania
and Health' (which appears hcrc under the title of: 'Analytic
Technique and the Analyst's Unconscious hlania'), to set
forth what a thorough investigation had taught me about the
various Meanings and Uses of the Colc~ztertran.rference,as well as on
the interrelations between transfcrcnce and countcrtransference.
This paper, read bcfore the Argentine Psychoanalytic Associa-
tion in I 953 and publishcd in the Pvchoana&tic Qunrterlq) in I 957,
was well rcccived in thc Argentine as wcll as in other countries,
particularly in the Unitcd States, whcre in various Institutes it
was included in the training programme for psycho-analysts,
In 1955 I proposed the first Symposium on Psychoanalytic
Technique in the Argentine Psychoanalytic Association, and
was charged with its direction. O n this occasion I read a brief
papcr on 'Countcrrcsistance and Interpretation' (Chapter 9).
In the First Latin-American Psychoanalytic Congress in 1956
I read a paper on 'Psychoanalytic Tccllnique and the Analyst's
Unconscious hlasochism' (Chaptcr 8). In 1957 the Organizing
Conlmittee of the Second Latin-American Psychoanalytic
Congress (Sao Paulo, Brazil) invitcd me to present an 'Official
Report' on 'Classical and Prcsent Techniques in Psycho-
analysis', which is found as Chaptcr 2 in this book. Finally, I
wrote an 'Introduction to Psycl~oanalyticTechnique' for this
book, which was read as a lccture to the 'Friends of the Argen-
tine Psychoanalytic Association' in I 958.
Tra~lsfcrenccand countcrtransfercnce indubitably constitute
the axis of this book, as they also are the axis of the psycho-
'Another of these papers appeared in the Inf. 3. Psycho-Atml. ( I 957)'
'Contribution to the Problem of Psychopathological Stratification'. The
other two were not published for reasons of discretion.
analytic process. This book attempts to be a contribution to
what Freud and many of his disciples have set on these and other
technical problems. What on the one hand may constitute a
deficiency of this book-the fact that it is not a 'complcte'
compendium of analytic technique-is on the other hand
perhaps its virtue: it repeats only relatively little of what has
already been published in other texts on technique, and on the
contrary it tries to say what is absent from those texts. This
book does not substitute, therefore, for the already existing
treatises on technique but attempts to complement them.
Before ending this introduction, I would like to express my
gratitude to those who in one way or another have helped me
to write this book. They are many, teachers and students,
analysts and patients, who have taught and stimulated me, too
many to name them individually. T o only two persons, without
whose constant support I would not have been able to realize
these studies, I here wish to express my gratitude particularly:
to my wife, Genevieve T. de Racker, and to Dr Marie Langer.
Psycho-Analytic Technique1
The subject of this address is the technique of pvcho-analysis.
I do not think it necessary to give an extensive explanation of
the choice of the subject. Not only for analysts, but also for
physicians in general, for educationists, and for any person who
in some way must'practise psychology'-as for instance parents
must do with their children or children with their parents-it
is important to know the principles on which psycho-analysis
is based, and the methods which lead to the internal and ex-
ternal changes that this technique pursues. But even for the
person who does not practise psychology actively in any sense
(supposingthat such a person exists), even for the one who only
suffers passively the 'practice of psychology' by others, as the
patient might at times consider himself, the subject is of interest.
Anyone submitting to a surgical intervention will want to know
what will be done to him and how this will be done. But in
psycho-analysis such curiosity is still more legitimate and even
indicated, for in reality it is not a merely passive experience; the
analyst is not the only one who 'operates'; the patient has to
'co-operate'. And to this end it is useful tor him to know what
is the method and what is the aim of this 'operation'.
Interest in a topic implies the wish to know its past, its
present, and its future. Let us consider, first, the history of
psycho-analytic technique. You probably know that during the
nineteenth century, mental illnesses, neuroses, and other
phenomena, which nowadays we understand as being psycho-
logical or psychogenic disorders, were then considered to be
organic disorders, or more precisely, expressions of a 'degenera-
tion' of the nervous system, the only cause ofwhich was heredity.
The depreciative tinge that the term 'hereditary degeneration'
usually has for us, was also true for those times. Neuroses do
not seem to have awakened the affection of physicians, but
rather their distrust and rejection. Hysteria, for instance, was
considered, more than anything, to be 'simulation' and
1 Lecture delivered before the 'Friends of the Argentine Psycho-
analytic Association' in November 1958.
'theatre'. Possibly such an attitude arose largely from the
anxiety which the perception of his impotence regarding
neuroses originated in the physician, given his lack of under-
standing. Vice-versa, anxiety and contempt undermined the
latent disposition and capacity to understand something of
psychopathological phenomena, Thus, the situation constituted
a vicious circle in which Freud made the decisive breach by
approaching these problems in another spirit, free of anxiety,
rejection, and prejudice; desirous to discover the unknown,
and endowed with the psychological and scientific capacity of
a genius.
I must cite, now, some facts about the prehistory of psycho-
analysis which represent something like the milestones on the
road to analytic technique. In the year 1885, Freud, who was
then 29 years old, travelled to Paris to study nervous illrresses
with Charcot, the first to consider hysterical phenomena
seriously. There Freud took note of the fact that hysterical
paralyses can be produced by suggestion, in a hypnotic state,
from which it is deduced that these paralyses are the result of
mental representations. A little later, having already returned to
Vienna, Freud received the news that two other French
physicians, Litbeault and Bernheim, obtained good thera@utic
results with hysterics, by means of suggestion, predominantly
with hypnosis. In his work with 'nervous patients', Freud
abandoned electrotherapy, the partial successes of which were
soon understood as being successes of the physician's suggestion,
and used the hypnotic-suggestive method more and more.
This method consisted in giving orders to patients put into a
hypnotic state, which must counteract the manifestation of the
pathological symptoms. The method is successful in a certain
number of cases, but it is unstable- the symptoms reappear-
and not applicable to those who cannot be hypnotized.
Moreover, Freud remained unsatisfied with this method due
to the fact that it taught him nothing about the origin of the
illness. That is why he continued his search for another road.
Before Freud went to Paris, a friend, the physician Joseph
Breuer, had told him of an experience with one of his patients,
Anna 0 ... , who had suffered from hysterical paralyses and
from serious confusional states. On one occasion Breuer casually
observed that the patient was freed of her mental disturbance
when she could express verbally the fantasies and affects which
were dominating her. Subsequently Breuer based his thera-
peutic method with this patient on that observation: he placed
her under hypnosis and made her tell him what was affecting
her. The patient who knew nothing of the origin of her illness
while awake, found the link between her symptoms and ex-
periences under hypnosis. The symptoms mainly derived from
feelings and thoughts which had emerged within her while she
was taking care of her ill father, and which she had suppressed.
Afterwards the symptoms had appeared in their place. When
the patient, under hypnosis, remembered those experiences in a
hallucinatory form and discharged the suppressed feelings, the
symptoms disappeared. This method of 'abreacting' affects
was known as the cathartic method.
Freud adopted this method and some years later, togetherwith
Breuer, published the book Studies on Hysteria, in which the two
authors state their observations and conclusions. The description
of Jhe various difficultics and disadvantages of the hypnotic
method is also found in it; for instance, the fact that deep hypno-
sis could only be reached in a limited number of patients. These
difficulties were the main incentive which stimulated Freud to
search for a technique which would dispense with hypnosis.
I n this search he was helped by the recollection of an experi-
ment that Bernheim had made with one of his patients, and
which Freud had witnessed. At first the patient remembered
nothing of what had happened during his hypnotic state; but
Bernheim insisted tenaciously that he should remember, and
little by little, and part by part, the patient recalled what had
happened. This meant that even those experiences which
appear to be totally unconscious can be restored to conscious-
ness, and this even without hypnosis, since that patient remem-
bered them awake. Based on this experience Freud began to
give up hypnosis and in its place he urged his patients to
remember the forgotten or 'repressed' experiences. At the same
time, and step by step-and this was decisive for the sub-
sequent change in his technical procedure-Freud began to
understand the dynamic processes, that is to say, the interplay
of psychological forces and tendencies, which had caused the
forgetting or 'repressions', the difficulties in remembering or
rendering conscious the unconscious being due to these pro-
cesses. Freud discovered, in particular, that a force or tendency
exists which opposes recollection, which tends to maintain re-
pression, and which therefore also opposes the physician's
attempts to induce the patient to remember. Freud called this
force resistance, and this discovery led him to the next decisive
technical change.
He soon understood that resistance arose, above all, from the
fact that what should be remembered was painful for the
patient, embarrassed him, or was contrary to his moral feelings.
The comprehension of the diverse forms in which thc rcsistance
expresscd itself was equally important for the subscqucnt
change of tcchnique. The paticnts kept silcnt about certain
recollcctions, adducing, for instance, that these-or what in
their regard occurred to them during the session -1ackcd
importance or sense. Freud understood that t l ~ cpatients'
objections wcrc nothing more than a disguise of the rcsistance,
and the occurrences which appeared in such a disguisc wcrc,
prcciscly, the recollcctions sought, or at lcast sllowcd the way
towards them. The following technical stcp consistcd, thus, in
abandoning the 'technique of insistence' (wit11 wllicli sonlc
measures of suggestion were also linked, like placing thc hand
on the patient's forehead to aid concentration, ctc.); and in its
place setting up a rule for thc patient which sllould detcrmine his
conduct in tlie treatment, tlie paticnt cngaging I~inisclfto obcy
the rule. This 'fundamental rule', wllich rcprcscntccl tllc basis of
the treatment consisted in the patient's communici~tii~g all liis
thoughts to tlle physician, telling him every occurrcncc, without
omitting anything, llowever painful, or apparently sctlselcss or
unimportant, or out of place. Thus the patient should watch
that no internal objection, no self-criticism should kecp him
from communicating every thought that occurred; lie was to
say everytlling without selection, surrendering fully to free
What I have summarized hcrc in a few words was the rcsult
-one of the many results-of a long and arduous invcstigation
wllich led Freud to the basic understanding oC tllc cnuscs of
neuroses. The analytic technique, abovc all the substitution of
the hypnotic and suggestive method by tllc one of'frcc associ'l-
tion, issucd from this understanding. Tlic basic undcrstruntlilig
was that neuroses are duc to an internal conflict, an irrcconcil-
ability or intolerance between difrcrcnt parts of tlle personality,
and especially between the moral nlid social p.lrt on thc onc
hand, and the instinctive and egoistic part on tllc other. I say
'especially' bccause this conflict has not been and is not con-
sidered as the only one. Furthcrmorc, the stri~gglcagitinqt one's
own instincts did not at thc bcginning appcnr as tlie main
cause (altllough it had already been pointcd out in Frcucl's
first papers); for Freud at one time colisidcrcd certain passively
suffered experiences, as for instance seduction at an early age,
'traumatic' experiences, as the decisive factor in the aetiology
of neuroses. The recollection and 'abreaction' of these ex-
periences which constituted 'the repressed' above all, was what
should lead to the cure. This external factor and the early
'trauma' also maintained thcir importance later on, but Freud
gradually discovered the child's autonomous instinctive life,
and the conflicts with one's own infantile instincts showed them-
selves to be the principal factor in the genesis of neuroses. One's
own sexual and aggressive impulses were, therefore, those
which above all constituted 'the repressed', and their 'recol-
lection' and 'rendering conscious' should lead to the cure.
Thus, technique was based on this understanding. The
patient was supposed to associate freely, abolishing any re-
jection of his own thoughts, and in this manner all that had
been rejected from consciousness should reappear. I n general,
what actually appears is no longer the repressed properly
speaking, but derivatives of those infantile conflicts, more super-
ficial and more acceptable expressions of them. The patient
does not usually remember that he had sexual desires towards
his mother, but he does remember-and with equally intense
feelings of guilt-that, for instance, he desired the wife of an
older friend, etc. The analyst's function, thus, was to guess,
through the free associations (through these 'derivatives'), the
repressed infantile impulses, and to communicate what he had
guessed to the patient. Dreams constituted an especially
opportune access to the repressed, since in them-due to the
decrease of moral and logical censorship during sleep-the
infantile conflicts were shown with greater clarity. Freud
cxpectcd that communicating the repressed to the patient
would put an end to the alienation between the ego and the
instincts, the ultimate cause of neurosis. I n this manner the
interpretation of infantile impulses became the therapeutic
instrument par excellence.
But Freud's expectation was fulfilled only u p to a certain
degrce. Patients listened to interpretations, but their. content
frcqucntly continued to be expericnced as alien to the ego; they
then could not recognize what the analyst told them as some-
thing belonging to themselves, and the rendering conscious of
what was repressed and with it the integration of the personality,
was not produced. Freud soon understood that this was due to
the fact that resistances continued, and rendering conscious the
unconscious was made impossible. Before communicating the
patient's repressed impulses to him, therefore, the resistances
had to be overcome. How could he do this? Again, by under-
standing and pointing out the manifestations of their resist-
ances, their ways of acting, and their motives.
And just as the investigation of the repressed had led to the
discovery of a whole world of impulses, fantasies, and feelings
which from earliest infancy act upon the human psyche, so,
also, the investigation of the resistances led to the discovery of a
multitude of facts and processes, and especially of a series of
internal action or 'mechanisms' which the psyche effects in its
need to reject those impulses, rejection which in the treatment
is expressed, precisely, as 'resistances' to analysis; for instance,
superficially, as resistance to the communication of one's
thoughts or to the acceptance of the interpretation of the
'repressed'. I cannot enter, here, upon a detailed description
of this other part of the world which had been discovered, and
must limit myself to what is necessary for the meaning of the
interpretation of the resistance to be clear, which, as you already
know, must precede the interpretation of the repressed im-
pulses, or be linked with it. Thus, above all, it is a matter of
showing how the ego rejects the impulses and also why it does so.
We have already said something about the latter. T o admit
that one has certain desires or fantasies is experienced with
shame, with a sensation of humiliation, or of contemptibility,
with feelings of guilt, with fear of punishment, or, in morc
general terms, it is experienced with pain or anxiety. As a
defence against these disagreeable sensations thc ego rcjccts
such desires and fantasies from consciousness. A beautifill
example of such happenings is already found in a work of'
Nietzsche, who-like some other philosophers and poets- had
intuitively anticipated some of the psycho-analytic discoveries,
although in an isolated way. In Beyond Good and Evil thc follow-
ing aphorism is found: ' "I have done this," says my memory.
"I cannot have done it," says my pride, and remains relentless.
Finally memory yields.'
The different ways in which the ego achieves rejection arc
called the defence mechanisms, since in the last instancc thc pur-
pose is to defend against a fantasied danger to the ego or to tllc
object. Repression- that is to say, the exclusion of a psychologi-
cal content from consciousness by means of a 'counter-cathexis'
-is only one of these mechanisms. Projection (to place outsidc
and assign to another person what belongs to oneself), intro-
jection (to take and assign to oneself what belongs to another
person), isolation of ideas from their corresponding affects,
regrtssion to preceding stagcs of evolution, are others of thc
many defcncc mechanisms. I n thcir entirety they express
themselves as resistanccs to analysis, since the function and
tendcncy of the latter is to intcgratc the personality, that is to
say, to show as pertaining to the self what bclongs to it,
annulling the patliologic~~l dcfcnces. I n the measurc in which
these arc ovcrcomc thc patient can fcel and admit the instinct-
ual desires and fantasies as belonging to the ego, and can be
cured. 145th the intcrprctation of thc resistanccs and of the
rejected impulses the analyst's tcchnical task would thus be
Ncvcrtheless, things turncd out to bc more complex. New
and uncxpccted phenomena appeared during the treatment.
I t occurred that while Frcud was engaged in interpreting the
resistances and the represscd impulses and experiences of the
past, the paticnts, who up to a ccrtain moment had collabor-
ated in this task, lost intcrcst in the past and turncd towards the
present, a vcry definite prcscnt which was none other than the
person of Dr Sigmund Freud liimself. One of his patients, for
instance, threw hcr arms about his neck in the middle of
analytic work, and only the entrance of a scrvant saved him
from the difficulties inherent in tliis embarrassing situation.
Other paticnts also demandcd his love in various ways, in its
sexual expression or in a sublimatcd form. Frcud easily con-
qucred the temptation to assign these amorous successes to his
own irresistibility; lle suspcctcd other causes and discovered a
phenomenon soon dcstincd to have the grcatcst importance in
analytic therapy, namely the transfercncc. Not only female
patients but men too cliangcd thcir attitude towards the treat-
mcnt and the therapist. For instance, aftcr a pcriod of collabora-
tion thcy frcqucntly startcd to hccomc rebellious towards
Frcud, and it was morc important to thcm to bc right, to owe
him nothing, and to sliow him his impotcncc, than to bc cured,
IYliat was this phcnomcnon and what was its cause? T o begin
with, tllc appcarancc of crotic or hostile desircs and feelings
towiirds him upsct and illtcrfcrcd with thc analytic work, and
what diaturbcd this work was usually an expression of the
resistance. Attcntivc ol~scr\.ationof wl~cnthose feclings emerged
confirmed Ilis s~~spicion, for it was regularly a t a moment in
which tllc investigation of thc past reached a scnsitivc point,
one of thc intcnscly rcprcsscd infrintilc psycl~ological com-
plexes. Instcad of rcmcn~bcring this complex, the patient
reproduced some feeling contained in it, and referred it-
'through a mistaken mental connexion7--to the person of thc
physician. With this observation Freud had obtained two
most important understandings of this phenomcnon: firstly
that it was an expression of the resistance, and sccondly that
these fcclings were a displaced repetition of older ones, per-
taining to the emotional inhntile complexes, that is to say,
originally directed to the first objects--usually thc parent and
siblings-of love and llatc, desire and fcar. Thc itnpulscs and
feelings directed towards the analyst were, thus, transjerred from
the original objects. Hcncc Freud dcnominatcd '~ran.Ffercnce'
the entirety of the patient's psychological phcnomcna and
processes referred to the analyst and derived from othcr,
previous object relations.
The phenomenon of the transference, which a t first seemed to
be a disturbing factor only, soon showed itself to be a highly
valuable and even indispensable element of analytic work.
First of all, Freud understood that the disposition to collabor-
ate, the faith in the physician's work, was also an expression of
the old feelings of afl'ection for, and faith in, the parents; it was
a transference of 'positive' feelings, it was 'positive sublimated
transference', inasmuch as the erotic impulse appeared in its
sublimated form, that is, as affection and estecm. But the
sexual and the 'negative' transference (inasmuch as the
'negative' feelings of hostility, distrust, contempt, etc., pre-
dominated) also showed themselves to be very useful for
analytic work, since they represented a re-edition of infantile
impulses and feelings, processes and 'complexcs'. The task of
overcoming repressions, of analysing and conquering the diverse
defcnce mechanisms could be realizcd in thcsc re-editions of past
experiences in the same way as in the recollection of childhood
itself. What is more, experience showed that a considerable
quantity of thesc recollections could not be evoked vividly, tllc
original expcriences not being sufficiently accessiblc to mcmory;
but they could be restored to consciousness by means of their
repetition.or 'rcvival' in the transference. Consequcntly, some
years after discovering it, Frcud (191z) considered that thc
decisive battles for the recuperation of mental hcnlth are fought
on the field of thc transference. He counsels analysts to 'con-
centrate all of the patirttt's libido in the tmn.ference7, and to free him
of his repressions through the analysis of his psycllic relations
to the analyst in which all his infantile conflicts rcturn. IF this
is achieved, Freud says, the patient remains free of repressions
in his other relationships too, once the analysis is terminated.
This 'concentration of the libido in the transference' thus
represents a matter of cardinal interest. A large part of that
'concentration' is spontaneously produced, another part is not,
but constitutes an important technical task. The spontaneous
concentration of libido in the relation to the analyst is due to
various factors. Freud has emphasized three: first, the 'repeti-
tion compulsion'; second, the libidinal need (i.e. the desire to
find in the analyst a father or a mother who gives to the patient
the satisfactions which the original parents had not given him) ;
and third-as we already know- the resistance which leads
to the appearance of old desires and conflicts in the relation to
the analyst as a defence against the anxiety which the analytic
work creates. There are other factors which condition the
spontaneous concentration of libido in the transference, which
I discuss in Chapter 3. Regarding the 'concentration of libido'
as a technical task, it may possibly shock you that an affective
rclation of such importance as the one existing between the
patient and the analyst, should be-although only in part -a
product of a technical procedure. But in this case the technique
does not deserve your contempt or distrust, because it does not
constitute a 'device'; essentially it consists in stating a series of
truths. The affective relationship with the analyst which is
created in this way, is something which already exists in the
patient in a latent form. I t exists within him from his first years
of life onwards; it is determined by the small child's impulses
and unreal fantasies-which aqe experienced as reality-and
it constitutes a relationship of serious conflicts, full of persecu-
tion and depression, and, furthermore, largely buried under
repressions and denials. This relationship exists within the
patient because, in one aspect, his relations to his parents have
always been relations to 'imagos' (that is to say, to something
internal), and in another aspect (inasmuch as they repre-
sented something external), because the 'imagos' have been
taken inside, through perception, conserved through memory
traces, and upheld by the subsistence of the same instinctual
impulses and conflicts. I n this sense, the creation of the trans-
ference is, thus, an unearthing of these relationships which
need to be relived in order to give them a new and better
destiny. I n the measure in which this is achieved, all actual
relationships will also have a better destiny, since these are
largely determined by the former. Thus, I repeat, one creates
what already exists, first, as it exists, and then transforming it
by means of the analysis of conflicts which must lead to the
mobilization of potential capacities; that is to say, of what
already exists but had remained in a latent state. In this sense,
analysis as a whole could have the same title as Nietzsche gave
to one of his writings, How to Bccome what One is.
While I do not share, as you have seen, your assumed protest
against the fact that the transference should be, though only in
part, a product of a technical procedure, and what is more, I
confess I see in this protest the expression of a paranoid fantasy,
on the other hand I do agree with you and admit that some-
thing in this 'creation' of the transference annoys you with
reason. It is the fact that this whole intense affective relation-
ship refers to a person who does not deserve it, the analyst, who
deserves neither so much love nor so much hate, i.e. the fact
that this relationship is not produced in its appropriate place,
with the right object. But it is precisely this which, as well as
before submitting to treatment, always happens to the neurotic
person; that is to say, he 'displaces' or 'transfers' infantile and
internal conflicts to current situations and objects which are
out of place and inappropriate. During the treatment, while the
analyst collaborates in the creation of the transference, at the
same time he never ceases to show precisely this to the patient,
i.e. the inadequate character, alien to reality, of what psycho-
logically happens to the patient with the analyst in many
aspects. The transference is created to be presently dissolved,
for, in Freud's words, 'nobody can be killed in absentia or in
Soon new theoretical and clinical data were added to this
new technical approach; they enriched the possibilities and
reinforced the tendency to centre the analytic treatment in
the transference, or rather, in the transfGrence neurosis, since the
return of the relations to the parents implies the return of the
neurotic conflicts with them. One of the most important theoreti-
cal understandings is the one which refers to the dynamics of the
transference, that is to say, to the interplay of forces which
intervene in its formation. Frcud understood that the impulse
of repetition is inherent in the instincts, that the ego opposes
this repetition, and that it is this opposition which must, abovc
all, be considered as resistance. Thus the analyst must take
sides with the instincts and struggle against the ego and its
resistances which oppose repetition, that is, which oppose the
transference of instinctual impulses. Thus the transference,
which at the beginning was considered predominantly as
resistance, is now considered predominantly as the resisted, the
rejected, the analyst having to struggle for its recuperation.
To this were added a large number of new data with respect
to the processes of early childhood, which rendered possible a
much morc intense working through of early conflicts in their
return in the transfcrcnce. But bcfore describing the current
state of analytic technique-the result of old and new under-
standing--in greater detail, I must rcfer to another of its
aspects which up to now I have set aside.
I have spoken to you almost exclusivcly of the patient, of his
internal processes and conflicts, the tcchnique described being
derived from their nature. But it is evident that the atralyst also
intervenes in the technique, and wc must therefore refer to him
and to the problems his function presents to him. We have
mentioned, for instance, that the analyst must 'guess' or in-
tuitively grasp the repressed and intcrpret the unconscious
impulses and resistances, in the patient's original object
relations as well as in the transfcrcnce rclations. But how is this
done? Precisely what does the analyst have to interpret, whcn,
how, and how much? Morcover, should thc analyst only in-
terpret, or should hc do other things like advise, teach, prohibit,
demand, educate, guide? These and many other questions
emerge, problems which have been studied extensively, and
which I shall elucidate in following chapters. But here I have
to limit myself to a few fundamental aspects.
We already know that the analyst's basic function is to create,
in the patient, the possibility of making conscious what is un-
conscious, since the ultimate cause of all psychological conflicts
is the splitting of the personality, originated by the non-
acceptance of some part or another by consciousness. To grasp
the patient's unconscious-his unconscious impulses, resist-
ances, and trarlsferences- through intuition and thus to
understand liis unrcsolved conflicts, is, therefore, the first of the
analyst's fundamental tasks. This intuitive 'grasping' is pro-
duced through one's own unconsciousness, since -according
to mcdicval wisdom-'only the cqual can know the equal';
that is to say, in our language, one can only know in another
what onc knows in one's self. ivlorc precisely, another person's
uncorlscious can be graspcd only in the mcasure in which one's
own conscio~isncssis opcn to one's own instincts, feelings, and
fantasies. It is truc, that the understanding of another's un-
conscious also exists whrn one's own consciousncss is closed
against tho perception of this samc psychic content in oneself;
and what is more, it is true that at times one perceives in the
other exactly that which is very much rejected within oneself.
But this type of intuitive 'grasping'-as in the well-known
intuition of the paranoiac in particular, or in a less pathological
edition, the paranoid 'grasping', by which certain of one'c own
unconscious tendencies are actually grasped, at times, in the
other -is not really useful or constructive for the analyst
because it implies the same rejection this part of oneself suffered,
and because it distorts the perceived, turning the mosquito into
an elephant and the elephant into a mosquito. It is useful to
grasp in another only what the analyst has accepted within
himself as his own, and what therefore can be recognized in the
other person without anxiety or rejection.
Thus, for the analyst to perceive what the patient has
rejected from his own consciousness (conditio sine qua non to
supply what the patient lacks through the interpretation), the
analyst adopts a fundamental rule, counselled by Freud,
similar to the fundamental rule which governs the patient.
I t consists in the analyst's listening to what the patient com-
municates to him, and upon identifying himself with the
patient's thoughts, desires, and feelings, surrendering simul-
taneously to free association; that is to say, the analyst creates
an internal situation in which he is disposed to admit all
possible thoughts and feelings in his consciousness. If the analyst
is well identified with the patient and if he has fewer repressions
than the patient, then the thoughts and feelings which emerge
in him will be, precisely, those which did not emerge in the
patient, i.e. the repressed and the unconscious. Freud called
this internal disposition of the analyst 'Jree-Joating attention'
because it essentially consists in not fixing attention in any
predetermined direction. Such a disposition or mental attitude,
contrary to the one we adopt on concentrating, which con-
stitutes a sort of 'floating', is the ideal state in which the
analyst's consciousness can be surprised by rejected fantasies
and repressed occurrences. Let us say in passing, that this
method already seems to have been graspcd intuitively by an
old Chinese sage of whom the following story is told. One day
this sage lost his pearls. He therefore sent his eyes to search for
his pearls, but his eyes did not find them. Next he sent his ears
to search for the pearls, but his ears did not find them either.
Then he sent his hands to search for the pearls, but neither
did his hands find them. And so he sent all of his senses to
search for his pearls but none found them. Finally he sent his
not-search to look for his pearls. And his not-search found them.
But even the analyst's not-search does not always find the
pearls of the unconscious. As you already know, his capacity
to find depends on the degree to which he himself is conscious
of his own unconscious. This fact already counsels that the
analyst should be analysed before analysing others, T o this fact
another one is added. You will remember how the patient's
work of conquering his resistances and admitting the instinctual
and emotional complexes of his past into his consciousness was
impeded by the unexpected phenomenon of the transference.
Freud discovered that the analyst's work is interfered with by a
similar phenomenon in himself, that impulses and feelings to-
wards the patient also emerge in him, alien to his function of
understanding and interpreting the patient's resistances and
infantile complexes. Freud called this phenomenon counter-
transference, since it constitutes the equivalent of the trans-
ference, pointing out that it is important to know and dominate
it in order to keep it from disturbing the analyst's work. The
countertransference is that other fact and an important reason
why the analyst should be analysed before beginning work with
The history of the discovery of the countertransference,
its destiny and its place in analytic technique, is very similar
to the history of the transference and its destiny in this tech-
nique. Like the transference, the countertransference was also
considered, a t first, as a disturbance and serious danger to the
analyst's work-as indeed it can be. Later on it was seen that
it too, like the transference, can be a technical instrument of
great importance, since it is, in great part, an emotional
response to the transference, and as such can indicate to the
analyst what occurs in the patient in his relation to the analyst.
Finally, it was understood that not only does the counter-
transference disturb or help the analyst's understanding and
capacity to interpret the patient's unconscious conflicts, but
by determining the analyst's attitude towards his patient, it
also determines the destiny of the transference; for the analyst
is the object of the transference and the analyst's attitude
represents that object's attitude, which in its turn influences
the transference. The countertransference is thus decisive for
the transference and its working-through, and is also decisive
for the whole treatment. Besides, just as the transference,
according to Freud, is the field in which the principal battles
are fought in order to conquer the resistances, so the counter-
transference is the other half of this field, and on it the principal
battles are fought to conquer the analyst's resistances, that is,
the counterresistances.
First I shall cite an example of this latter aspect. You already
know that, according to analytic observation, neuroses are
centred on the Oedipus complex. Hence, on repeating the
infantile neurosis in the transference, the patient also repeats
his Oedipus complex with the analyst. One of the most painful
and anxiety-provokingoedipal experiences is the 'primal scene',
that is to say, the fantasies referring to the parents' sexual
relations. The patient relives these fantasies, and the impulses
and feelings related to them, with the analyst. The patient's cure
will largely depend on the degree to which he can render these
fantasies conscious, overcoming the resistances, and reinte-
grating with his ego what the pathological defences kept split
off from it. For this he needs the analyst's help. But it is also
easy for the analyst to have some resistance against crudely
interpreting the concrete details of these fantasies to the patient,
and to make him suffer the total impact of the anxiety and
distress of the 'primal scene'. Nevertheless, little by little he will
have to reach this point, conquering the patient's resistances
together with overcoming his own counterresistances.
Here is another example in order to illustrate other aspects
of the role of the countertransference. Let us take the case of a
patient who for some unconscious motive reacts to the analyst's
interpretations by constantly rejecting them all. Sooner or
later, the analyst's spontaneous countertransference reaction
will easily be one of a certain anxiety and annoyance, or of
discouragement. To become dominated or carried away by
such feelings would represent the above-mentioned 'danger',
or the 'disturbance' of the treatment by the countertransference.
T o use the perception of these countertransference events, after
having analysed their origin and their dynamics, as an indi-
cator of what is happening in the patient in his unconscious
relation to the analyst, would be an example of the possibility
of utilizing the countertransference as an instrument for un-
derstanding the transference. Finally, to depart from the role
the patient unconsciously induces in the analyst, or in part of
him, by provoking anxiety or annoyance, discouragement or
even despair in him, to break the vicious circle in which
the patient's transference threatens to enclose the analyst, to
cover the positive countertransference and so to rediscover
and reawaken the repressed positive transference, all of these
exemplifj. the countertransference as a factor which helps to
determine the attitude of the analyst as object of the trans-
ference. The. working-through of the transference conflicts de-
pend on this attitude; in a word, it exemplifies the events taking
place on the other half of the battlefield.
I am afraid that I have extended myself too much when I
only wanted to outline the basic aspects of analytic technique.
I shall return, therefore, to these aspects. I mentioned to you
that I was going to speak about the past, the present, and the
future of analytic technique. The past came to an end together
with hypnosis and suggestion. Ever since these technical
means were substituted by thefundamental rule (free association),
and by the interpretation of the resistances and of the trans-
ference, we are fully in the present, notwithstanding that this
occurred sixty years ago. O n the other hand, much, very much
has been learned since then. I have already shown you some-
thing of the new knowledge which has been added during the
course of the last half century. I would like to make a brief
synthesis of current technique, from which some fantasies could
issue with respect to the future.
The basic principle of analytic technique as a whole is the
ancient Socratic 'know thyself', because analytic observation
has taught that neurotic phenomena as well as character
disorders, disorders of man's relations to the world (to persons
and things), his unhappiness, anxiety, and difficulties in work
and in enjoyment, are the effect of only one though complex
cause: lack of self-knowledge, But we must immediately add
that this self-knowledge we are referring to is not an intellectual
knowledge. Real knowledge is equivalent to union with one-
self, to a full conscious and emotional acceptance of everything
pertaining to one's self, which was pathologically rejected
before. This self-knowledge and this union with oneself imply,
thus, overcoming anxiety and fear of oneself, and overcoming
all the hostile means which-as a defence against this anxiety-
man has used against himself. These hostile means are splitting,
mutilating, denying, annihilating, closing, or also partially
projecting himself on to the world and then quarrelling with it
in order to alleviate internal discord, or withdrawing from
the world in order to find a peace which is only apparent, and
remaining impoverished in comparison with all his latent
possibilities. I n this sense analytic technique, as I have already
mentioned, is a method of becoming what one is, since it does
nothing else but attempt to return to the human being what
pertains to him, and what during his life-road, in the interplay
of internal conflicts and external events, he has lost or been
unable to develop.
Thus, in the course of these sixty years we have learned a
good deal more about this road, from the time man initiates it
in the maternal womb, until he returns to the mother earth.
In particular, we have come to know the psychological pro-
cesses of earliest childhood in greater detail, to know the
child's multiple impulses, fantasies, anxieties, and methods of
defence, which determine his later life to an unsuspected degree.
We must emphasize, in this context, the clinical a d theoretical
contributions of Abraham, Ferenczi, Jones, Klein, and many
others, who have also greatly .enriched our technical capacity,
since they have enabled us to see and interpret much that
would have remained without being understood in the patients'
associative material. In the analytic treatment we focus our
attention, as I have said, upon the return of all the infantile
processes in the patient's relation to the analyst; and it is in
and through this return, the transference, that we attempt to
overcome man's disunion with himself, the anxiety in face of
himself, and the destructive methods of defence towards him-
self. With equal attention we follow all his other relations to the
world in which these infantile pathological processes likewise
reappear, and we have learned to grasp the intimate link which
always exists between those relations with the external world
and the transference. The more we know these processes, the
sooner we can recognize them through the patient's associations
and behaviour, the better we will know what, when, and how
to tell the patient what he needs to know in order to free him-
self from that which hinders the union with himself and to be
what he is.
With this too, we already have a basis to construct some
fantasies about the near future of analytic technique. I shall
limit myself to what can be foreseen, with some probability,
within the lines of our present evolution, setting afide the
fantasies on eventual revolutionary discoveries. While, for
instance, the analyst of the past had to listen during hours, and
sometimes for weeks, to the patient's associations before being
able to give him an adequate interpretation, nowadays the
analyst usually grasps much sooner what the patient needs to
know and is capable of using profitably, so that the analyst can
interpret, in general, many times in each session, which repre-
sents a progress in the possibilities of a more intense and even
more rapid working-through of unconscious conflicts. Our in-
creased interpretative capacity is due to greater richness of
current knowledge. In the past we were like the two paupers
in thc Jewish joke, who could change their shirts only once a
wcek. At present we are already like the rich merchant who
changcs his shirt every day, or even two or three times a day.
And in thc future we shall perhaps be-following the same
joke -like the banker Rothschild, who continuously takes his
shirt off and puts on a new one, takes off and puts on without
interruption. And just as we have progressed and will progress
with respect to the quantity of interpretation we can give, so
wc will also progress with respect to its quality, by knowing
wlzat, when, and how to interpret. Thus we can suppose that the
future progress of psychological knowledge in general, and of
specific knowledge regarding the patient's internal events
within the analytic situation in particular, will give us the
possibility of intensifying and also accelerating the process of
psychological transformation more and more. Evidently, this
not only depends on the enlargement of our knowledge, but
also on its assimilation, that is to say, on our growing capacity to
understand and recognize the unconscious process underlying the
patient's every phrase and mental movement, each silence, each
change of rhythm and voice, and each one of his attitudes. The
analylic microscopy I have just alluded to-which, in principle,
cxists since Freud but without having found its full and sys-
tcmatic development until now-will impose itself, I believe,
little by little, as a specific subject matter and discipline in
analytic investigation, as well as in analytic teaching, and it
will bc an important means for the precise and prompt com-
prehension of the patients' material. Microanalysis and macro-
analysis-i.e. the integral analysis of each detail and every
situation, of each expression and every state, of each complex
and of thc total structure-will advance hand in hand, and will
facilitate an always more exact and efficient intervention on
the part of the analyst, who is capable of applying the pro-
motive lever to that point in which the main psychological
situation of the moment should be mobilized or integrated.
With progress in technical capacity, training analyses will
also be more cfficient, and the new analysts of tomorrow will
work better than the new analysts of today, just as these work
better, in general, than the new analysts of yesterday.

Classical and Present Techniques in

The great extension of our subject demands a strict selection
among the multiple aspects it includes. I shall therefore con-
fine myself to the points which I believe deserve our greatest
interest. For instance, as to the various present trcnds in
psycho-analytic technique, I shall refer espccially to two: the
more specifically Freudian trend and the trend of the British
School (Waelder, 1945). Furthermore, I shall point out some
important ideas of those who are to be found between those two
trends, and shall add some personal points of view. O n the
other hand, I will have to leave aside the technical ideas of the
culturalists (Homey, Fromm-Reichman, and others) , and
those of Alexander and others, although they contain many
points of interest.
Making conscious the unconscious, or overcoming the resistances
has been and continues to be the way and the aim of all
psycho-analytic technique. The formulations of this principle
vary, as well as its contents and the methods of application, but
the principle has remained the same. Freud also formulates the
aim of analysis, for instance, as the restoration of mental unity,
putting an end to the alienation between ego and libido
(1g17), or, in terms of structure, Where id was there ego
shall be (1933). All these formulations essentially express the
same thing, and this principle also is the basis on which
analysts of yesterday and today agree. Only one of Freuds
formulations is doubted up to a point, by some analysts. I a m
referring to filling in the gaps in memory, a term which for
Freud is equivalent to making conscious the unconscious.
Doubt arises in those for whom childhood memories and
repetitions in the transference are prevailingly opposite
phenomena, and who at the same time consider the transfer-
ence re-experience as the decisive field in which to make
This chapter was given in an abridged version to the Second Latin-
American Congress of Psycho-Analysis in I 958.
conscious the unconscious. Actually it was Freud himself who
first emphasized the opposition between recollection and
repetition, when he showed the resistant character of the trans-
ference (i.e. when showing that the patient repeats instead of
remembering). Nevertheless, at the same time Freud asserted
the identity between childhood and transference, pointing out
that time does not exist in the unconscious (19I 2). Some years
later, in Beyond he Pleasure Principle, Freud showed that resistance
is especially directed against repetition, the transference thus
being what is resisted. I believe that this contradiction, which,
to my mind, is only apparent, is the consequence of the fact
that Freud could only develop his ideas step by step and dis-
cover the diverse aspects of these psychological phenomena
only in successive periods. This apparent contradiction has not
been sufficiently clarified, and thus arose the doubt regarding
'recollection' or 're-experience'. This doubt will engage our
attention thoroughly when dealing with the dynamics of the
transference (Chapter 4). Here we only anticipate that by
correctly interpreting the concept of 'filling in the gaps in
memory', this formulation also continues to be valid as a
common basis for all analysts. For they all agree in that any
rendering conscious in the transference, is at the same time a
form of 'recollection'. This is implicit in the same definition of
the transference.
The object or aim of psycho-analytic treatment has also ex-
perienced diverse formulations. The concept of 'regaining
health' (which first referred to the symptoms and afterwards
to the 'complexes') shared and continues to share its place with
other concepts. 'Emotional maturity', 'adaptation to reality',
'overcoming the evolutionary disturbances of the personality',
are some of these formulations. But essentially, the analyst of
today directs his attention to the causes of the disturbances
(i.e. to psychic conflicts) as did the analyst of yesterday. H e
knows that he is on the right road and is therefore confident of
positive results without aiming directly towards them. I n this
he follows Freud (1912) who recommended to analysts the
French surgeon's motto, 'Je le pansai, Dieu It: gukrit' ('I have
dressed his wounds, God cured him'). I t can then be said about
the development of psycho-analysis that having begun as a
therapy, it was afterwards directed to man as a whole, and by
this road it has discovered the general and the specific disorders
in man's evolution, of the human being as such, 'ill' and
'healthy', and psycho-analytic treatment has become a tech-
nique of human evolution or transformation, including the
therapeutic as one of its principal aspects.
Freud (1914) has designated the resistance and the trans-
ference as the two 'starting points' of analysis. We have already
pointed out the relation of the basic principle of technique to
resistance, and must now do the same regarding the transfer-
ence. I n principle, agreement on this point also reigns among
analysts, for they all recognize the transference in itsclf as a
fact. They all consider that the positivc transference must serve
only to obtain from it the necessary energy to overcomc resist-
ances, and they are all of the opinion that a~ialysismust bc
centred upon the transference neurosis, just as Freud indicated,
for instance, in his lntroductory Lectures: 'The person who has
become normal and free from the influence of repressed in-
stinctual impulses in his relation to the doctor will remain so in
his own life after the doctor has once morc withdrawn from it.'
I think that every analyst will subscribe to these words, what-
ever his technical trend and whatever his particular manner of
putting the analysis of the transferencc neurosis into practice.
With this agreement on the basic technical principles and
many other points yet to be dcalt with, multiple technical
variations and divergences exist. At first sight some detcr-
mining factors can already be differentiated:
( I ) Technical procedure depends on the scope of general
and specifically technical psychological knowledge (Freud, I g I 0).
This scope varies according to periods in psycho-analysis as a
whole and to those in each individual analyst.
(2) New Jindings or assertions are accepted by some and
rejected by others, and diverse facts are evaluated differently,
which leads to different concepts of a secondary order, to
different 'secondary principles', which determine a different
application of the basic principles, common to all; that is to
say, different techniques.
(3) T%eindividual (or per.ronal) factor: the technique obviously
depends on the differcnt character, capacity for understanding,
and countertransfcrences of every analyst. It is also evident
that each patient 'creates' a differcnt analyst (as each son
creates different parents) suggesting major or minor technical
variations to him.
(4) The genealogic factor, that is to say, the influcnce of
different analytic 'archifathers' and 'fathers' upon the tech-
nique of their analytic children, grandchildren, and great-
grandchildren (Balint, I 948).


The fundamental rule for the patient is deduced from the basic
principle ('making conscious the unconscious'), and it is
equally accepted by everyone, even though some differences
exist in the manner of introducing it into the analytic situation.
Freud establishes-as an equivalent to the fundamental rule
for the patient-a fundamental rule for the analyst, calling it
'evenly-suspended attention' (1912). H e pointed out that with his
understanding (which springs from the 'evenly-suspended
attention') the analyst reaches only up to where his own com-
plexes and resistances allow it; he emphasizes the importance
of the countertransference in relation to this, and therefore, the
importance of the analyst's own previous analysis ( I g I 0).
Freud especially calls attention to the dangers which the
ambition to cure and to educate brings with it.
Every analytic technique is ultimately based on these same
concepts. But in this regard, some developments must be men-
tioned. The analyst's psychological processes have since been
thoroughly studied. While Freud enjoins the recognition and
overcoming of the countertransference ( I g I o) as a necessity,
many analysts these days add the task of utilizing the counter-
transference for the understanding of the patient's psychological
pI.ocesses, since it is in these processes that the countertransfer-
ence partly originates (Heimann, I 950; Racker, I 957). For
instance, Freud admonishes the analyst to withhold com-
passion and to adopt towards his patient an internal attitude
similar to that of a surgeon ( I 912). The fundamental import-
ance of this objective attitude continues to be valued by every-
one, but in addition, many analysts now would use the per-
ception of a feeling like the one of compassion, which is aroused
by the patient, to understand the underlying transference
process.' In more general terms: in the degree to which Freud's
The analyst's compassion may be, for instance, a consequence of
the patient's defensive process in face of his own depressive feelings, e.g.
in face of the preoccupation about the harm done (in fantasy) to the
analyst (mother, father), or in face of the patient's guilt and com-
passion towards the former, etc. The defence may consist in an identifi-
cation with the damaged object, the patient in this way becoming trans-
formed into the victim, while the object (the analyst for instance) should
feel guilt or compassion.
statcnlcnts regarding the central role of transfercncc analysis
was undcrstood and assirnilatcd, the countcrtransfcrence also
acquired a central role, in its 'subjcctivc' as wcll as in its
'objective' aspect, as I will show further on.
I would like to illustrate this dcvclopmcnt with ailothcr
cxamplc. Freud gave as one of his motives for his habit of
sitting behind the patient, the fact that lie did not want tlie
expressions of his face to give the patient material for intcrpre-
tations nor influence his communicatioi~s( 1 9 1 3 ) .Today many
of us would add that these facial exprcssio~lsgcncrally rcflcct
the response of an internal object of the patient to his material,
and in the last instance, that they reflect the rcsponsc of one
part of the patient's ego, 'placed outside', that is to say, split
off and projected on to the analyst. I t is important that tlw
analyst should perceive his own facial expressions, that he
should understand them as being a countertransfercncc
response to the transference, and that-after having allowed
for the personal factor in it-by means of the interpretation he
should reintegrate in the patient that part of his personality
placed on an internal-external object, the analyst.
The treatment which many analysts apply to their thera-
peutic and educative ambition has also evolved in a similar
fashion. With regard to its 'subjective aspect', the origins of
these ambitions in the analyst's own psyche have been inten-
sively studied, and the struggle for the realization of thc ideal
continues, according to which the analyst, in one part of his
self, should become 'the subject of pure knowledge' ( S ~ ~ i o p e n -
hauer), that is to say, the obscrvcr who is free of personal
desires and anxieties, who neither longs to lcad the patient
towards 'health', nor to a change of behaviour, but who
serenely tends to lead him to an experience and a knowledge
of himself, forrncrly rejected. On the other hand, we recognize
the 'objective aspcct' of the analyst's ambitions much more,
that is to say, oncc again, the participation which the object,
i.e. the patient, has in the origin or intensification of these
ambitions. Where such an 'ambition' arises in the analyst,
where he for instance desircs the patient to adopt a particular
kind of behaviour, knowing what thc latter should do but does
not do, there it can frequently be secn that this knowledge and
this ambition of the analyst at bottom belong also to the
patient, but are repressed or split off and unconsciously origi-
nated or 'placed' in the analyst, or at times 'yielded' to him.
In other words, the patient unconsciously covets and knows
what, unconsciously, he makes the analyst covet and know.
By analysing the factors whicll maintain this ambition and this
unconscious knowledge in the patient, the analyst is able to
return what thc patient has caused to arise or lias 'projected'
on to him.The better we know how to analyse this aspect and the
better we know how to put the patient's latent knowledge into
action, helping him to overcome what within himself opposes
it, the more we can dispense with wanting to cure and educate.
The latent knowledge we rcfer to may be of a moral, emo-
tional, or even practical kind. For instance, a patient's morally
bad behaviour may arouse in the analyst the ambition to
educate him, especially when the patient apparently has no
guilt-feeling whatsoever and no consciousness of having pro-
cccdcd badly. But the analyst can soon recognize that uncon-
sciously the patient knows very wcll that his behaviour was bad,
but he is hindered in rendering this conscious, for instance,
because in his fantasy that behaviour signified a horrible crime.
When the patient tells of his behaviour, the analyst usually feels
something of this horror, arid knows that the good feelings them-
selves (his own as well as the patient's) are the ones which cause
the ego to react with horror and to tolerate only with difficulty
tlie consciousncss of those 'criminal' impulses. The analysis of
that crime will enable him to 'return' to the patient the capacity
to fecl which the latter unconsciously 'put' into the analyst.
Ll'hat makes us say that such capacity for knowledge is 'put'
into tlie analyst is not simply the fact that it arises in him, but
the understanding, in this case, for instance, that the patient
tells of his behaviour because unconsciously he knows that
something is wrong, and expects the analyst to furnish what is
illaccessible to the patient in his present state, however much
he potentially possesses this same feeling and knowledge.
I come now to another aspect of the analyst's psychological
position: his 'activity' or 'passivity' towards the patient's
material.' I think that the differences between the more active
and the more passive attitude towards the material (in regard
to listening, to identifying with, and understanding it as well
as to giving interpretations) are an expression of very important
differences between the diverse techniques, above all between
Here the term 'activity' does not have the meaning Ferenczi ( I g I 8)
gave to it, i.e. the analyst's non-interpretative activities, such as pro-
hibitions, instructions, etc.; the 'activity' and 'passivity' I am referring
to, are different degrees of activity within the basic functions of the
the 'classical technique' (usually more passive) and the
'Klcinian tecl~nique'(usually more active). But I must already
empllasize that in thc colicept of the 'classical technique'
I do not include here the tccllnique of Sigmund Freud. For in
certain aspects, as I shall show, Freud was not a 'classic analyst'
in the sense currcntly given to this term. I t is my impression,
and I shall establish its basis later on, that some of Freud's
central technical concepts, related to the analyst's 'activity'
and 'passivity', spccially as the one of 'evenly-suspended
attention' and the attitude of a 'surgeon' and 'mirror', have
bcen emphasized and carried out one-sidedly, at the expense
of othcr concepts.
'Evcnly-suspended attention', for instance, is but one as-
pcct (though fundamental) of the complex process of under-
standing the unconscious. I t can be understood why Freud
undcrliiled this aspect-it was the new and different one-but
in view of what (in the opinion of many analysts) constitutes
an exaggeration of the passive attitude, it must be emphasized
that to listen wcll and to empathize have their active aspect
too. We tend to identify, and identification is, partially, an
active mental process, besides implying the reproduction of the
objcct's psycl~ologicalactivity. We let the material penetrate
into us and at times the chord which was 'touched' vibrates
imrncdiately; but at other times this reception must be fol-
lowed by an active process in which we 'touch' and detect what
has pcnetratcd in us with our unconscious feeling and thinking,
so as to be able finally to unite with it. Thus as in the sexual act
the woman is, in one aspect, receptive and therefore 'passive',
neverthcless fully active within this passive role-if she is
healthy and loves the man-so also is the analyst towards his
patient. An exaggerated passivity on the part of the analyst
has a certain similarity to the behaviour of the frigid woman,
who does not respond, who does not really unite. I n this case
we fulfil the 'obligations' of the analytic-matrimonial con-
tract but without psychologically feeling, responding and en-
joying it. Of course our patients-men and women-are
usually neurotic, their psychological potency is damaged,
their words frequently lack 'elevation' or are without love;
they are like the sadistic man. But for something we are
analysts and for this reason they come to us. T o be an analyst
means-in this aspcct-not to respond with retaliation, not
to enter into the neurotic vicious circle (Strachey, 1g34), not
to submit to the patient's defences; and this implies a continued
activity in the search for understanding. I believe that every-
one agrees that the ideal is to understand each sentence, each
detail, each sequence, this 'microscopic' approach having .to be
connected with a 'macroscopic' one, that is to say, an approach
to the essence of each session, and to each session as an ex-
pression of the total personality. I think that this analytic-
synthetic understanding can only be achieved if the passive
position is joined to an active striving to understand, to a good
measure of active identification, and to sufficient energy for
struggle against the resistances, not only those of the patient
but also one's own.
In a similar way, the concept of the 'surgeon's' attitude
lends itself to misunderstandings and may induce a repression
of the countertransference and, moreover, a denial of the desire
to understand and to lead the patient towards a greater insight
and a new way of feeling. Freud counselled the attitude of a
'surgeon' to protect the analyst and the patient from the
disadvantages which the ambition to cure and an identification
without reservations imply. But on the other hand, Freud
assigned great importance to the active, fighting, and, I believe,
even warm attitude. This does not only follow from his own
attitude, which we know through his case histories, but also
from some expressions in his theoretical writings on technique.
In 'Further Recommendations on the Technique of Psycho-
Analysis' (1913), for instance, he advises the analyst to show his
'serious interest' to the patient, and in the New Introductory
Lectures ( I 933), speaking of the cases in which analytic therapy
does not obtain the desired changes due to 'one particular
dependent relation, one special instinctual component', he
emphasizes that the result of the treatment depends on 'the
opposing forces that we are able to mobilize. But the most
significant expression is found in the hctures ( I g I 6- I 7) in which
he indicates that the analyst must 'call upon all the available
mental forces' to induce the patient to overcome his resistances,
and it seems to me that with this he refers not only to the
patient's forces but-and I believe, very specially-the
analyst's as well. I t should aIso be remembered how much
importance Freud assigned to the positive transference in the
process of regaining health. It alone moves the patient to accept
interpretations and to forsake resistances. I n this context Freud
speaks of the 'boiling heat (Siedehitze) of the transference', and,
according to my experience, such temperatures can only be
achieved if the analyst also contributes sufficient heat-
sufficient positive countertransference made real through his
work-to the analytic situation.
Freud's counsel that the analyst should be a 'mirror' (19x1)
has, I believe, at times also been carried to an extreme. Freud
gives this advice against the habit, prevalent among some
analysts of that early period, of relating facts of their own life to
patients. 'Be a mirror' thus meant 'speak to the patient only of
himself'. I t did not mean 'stop being of flesh and blood and
transform yourself into glass covered with silver nitrate'. The
positive intention of not showing more than the indispensable
of one's own person does not have to be carried as far as to
deny (or even inhibit), in front of the patient, the analyst's
interest and affection towards him. For only Eros can originate
Eros. And this is what matters in the last instance, when think-
ing of the aim of analysis which is the new putting into action
of the rejected libido, as well as when considering the decisive
role played by the positive transference, or considering working
through the 'depressive position' which can only be attained
by means of an increase of Eros. Just as the positive transference
is of fundamental importance for analytic work, so also is the
positive countertransference and its full unfolding through the
hard work the analyst must do to understand and interpret.
Only in this way, in the analytic situation, can a really favour-
able climate be created for the work to be done. The analyst's
relation to his patient is a libidinal one, and is a constant
emotional experience; the analyst's desires, frustrations, and
anxieties are real, however slight; and the countertransference
in part constantly oscillates with the oscillations of the trans-
ference, and the therapeutic outcome depends to a large extent
on the analyst's capacity to maintain his positive countertrans-
ference over and above his 'countertransference neurosis'; or
else, to free it again and again from any harm it may have
suff'ered, just like the Phoenix, which always rises again from
its own ashes.
I would now like to summarize. The analyst's different
internal attitudes towards the patient's material determine
different techniques. At bottom this also involves the analyst's
different attitudes towards himself. Unconscious anxieties in
face of certain aspects of one's own unconscious give rise to
anxieties in face of the patient's unconscious, and lead to diverse
defensive measures which interfere with one's work; for instance,
creating excessive distance, rigidity, coldness, difficulty in
giving free course to associations and feelings within one's self,
and inhibited behaviour towards the patient. In this case, as
well as in the opposite one, in which the analyst is 'flooded' by
his unconscious, the transference and countertransference
neurosis may become dominant in the analytic situation; the
positive transference and countertransference (which in better
circumstances gain strength from the real analytic situation)
recede, and this in a degree greater than what is convenient for
therapy, since any analytic work, any communication, and
any understanding-i.e. any union-spring from these
positive feelings.
Just as with the patient, the analyst must then also divide his
ego into a rational, observant, and a feeling, irrational one. He
too must internally give free course to the latter, with all the
associations, fantasies, and feelings which arise in response to
the patient's material, for only thus can the analyst provide
what the patient lacks, only by means of this total internal
response, free of repressions and of affective blocking. Thus only
can the analyst, for instance, reproduce the concrete fantasies
which the patient feels at bottom (but which are repressed and
blocked). And on the other hand, only by maintaining that
division among his two 'egos' can the analyst break the vicious
circle between negative transference and negative counter-
transference (the inevitable spontaneous response to the former),
preserving his positive countertransference, and perceiving and
putting the patient's repressed or split-off positive transference
into action. 'This leads, furthermore, to a natural and affection-
ate attitude on the part of the analyst, to a greater freedom
in 'letting himself go' in the positive aspects of his personality,
with all his active interest towards the patient, and for each
detail of his internal and external life.
The analytic transformation process depends then, to a large
extent, on the quantity and quality of Eros the analyst is able
to put into action for his patient. I t is a specific form of Eros,
it is the Eros called understanding, and it is, too, a specific form
of understanding. I t is, above all, the understanding of what is
rejected, of what is feared and hated in the human being, and
this thanks to a greater fighting strength, a greater aggression,
against everything which conceals the truth, against illusion and
denial-in other words, against man's fear and hate towards
himself, and their pathological consequences. But also for the
analyst the words of St Paul are valid: 'Though I speak with
the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love (charity),
I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.'
This may smack of mysticism or of romanticism, but this
does not prevent its being a truth.' I would like to illustrate
this with an example, although I anticipate the next section of
this chapter. When we interpret something which the patient
rejects from his consciousness (an aspect of his aggressiveness
for instance), without including in this interpretation the part
of his ego which carries out the rejection, it appears as a con-
sequence that the patient will see in us that rejecting part of his
ego. In this way we run the risk of splitting the patient even
more instead of integrating him. We interpret in that partial
form when we have not simultaneously identified ourselves
with the patient's ego. But in its defences, although mistakenly,
the ego is precisely the defender of life, of love for the object or
for itself. The understanding of the affective part arises from
the affects, is experienced as affect and puts affect into action.
The absence of this aspect from the interpretation is felt, with
reason, as lack of affection and often has negative consequences.
I close this section on the analyst's internal position by saying
that the patient can only be expected to accept the re-experienc-
ing of childhood if the analyst is prepared to accept fully his new
paternity, to admit fully affection for his new children, and to
struggle for a new and better childhood, 'calling upon all the
available mental forces' (1917). His task consists ideally in a
constant and lively interest and continuous empathy with the
patient's psychological happenings, in a metapsychological
analysis of every mental expression and movement, his prin-
cipal attention and energy being directed towards under-
standing the transference (towards the always present 'new
childhood') and overcoming its pathological aspects by means
of adequate interpretations.

Again agreement reigns among yesterday's and today's
analysts with regard to the basic principle: the interpretation is the
therapeutic instrument par excellence. But with regard to the applica-
tion of this principle, with regard to what, when, how much,
1 Something similar is pointed out by Goethe, in a more sober way:
'Die Mange1 erkennt nur der Lieblose; deshalb, um sie einzusehen,
muss man auch lieblos worden, aber nicht mehr als hierzu ni5tig ist'
(Spriichc in Prosa, Part I) ('Only the unkind recognizes deficiencies;
therefore, in order to comprehend them, one must also become unkind,
but not more than necessary').
and how to interpret, opinion and practice differ in multiple
In the first place I would like to refer to the problem of the
quantity of the interpretations, given its connexion with the
problem of the analyst's 'activity', just dealt with. It will be
remembered that we considered the different applications of
the basic principles as being dependent on four factors. The
differences with respect to the quantity of the interpretations
may serve as an example, for it depends:
(i) on the extent of our psychological knowledge; the more
we know, the more we can interpret.
(ii) on the 'secondary' principles or concepts. For instance,
some analysts like de Saussure (1925)~ or Reik ( 1 g q ) , attribute
a therapeutic value to the analyst's silence. The quantity of
interpretation depends, then, on the degree to which this
silence is valued in comparison with the therapeutic value
ascribed to the interpretation.
(iii) on the 'individual factor', i.e. on the analyst's individual
capacity for understanding, on his character, on his counter-
transferences (anxieties, reparative tendencies, unconscious
meaning which the acts of analysing and interpreting have for
him, etc.). For example, a greater need for reparation will in
general induce him to interpret more; his unconscious depend-
ence on the patient may dispose him to submit himself silently
to the patient's resistances (misunderstood 'tolerance'); likewise
it may impede his frustrating the patient with a prolonged
(iv) on the 'genealogic factor', i.e. on how much his training
and supervising analysts interpreted, the degree of dissolution
of his transference towards them, etc.
Let us see now what Freud thought with respect to 'how
much' to interpret. There are only a few references to this sub-
ject. In 'The Future Prospects of Psycho-Analytic Therapy'
(I~IO),for instance, he expresses his satisfaction at being able
to interpret much more than before, thanks to the acquisition
of new knowledge, and his hope for future progress in the same
direction shows through. But the best vision of what Freud
thought can be obtained if we look at what he did. In his case
histories of 'Dora' (1 905) and 'The Rat Man' (~gog),we find
some sessions reproduced nearly verbatim, which permit us to
see how he worked. Above all, these sessions show with how
much freedom Freud unfolded his whole creative personality
in his work with the patient, and how actively he participated
in each event of the sessicn, giving full expression to his interest.
He asked questions, illustrated his assertions by quoting
Shakespcare, made comparisons and even undertook an experi-
ment (with Dora). But what here interests us most, is that
Freud interprets constantly, makes detailed and sometimes
vcry extensive interpretations (speaking more or less as much
as the patient), and the session is a straightforward dialogue.
Those who link the concept of 'classical technique' with a
predominance of the monologue on the part of the patient and
with few and generally short interpretations on the part of the
analyst, will have to conclude, as I have said, that in this
aspect Freud was not a 'classical' analyst.
I cannot here discuss in detail the pros and cons of Freud's
procedure, but would like to refer to a possible objection of a
historical kind. In reply to any assertion that these sessions date
from before 1905 and 1909, and that later on Freud changed
his technique, I would say that I do not know of any word
of Freud which would substantiate this assertion, or point out
this change, not one expression which would indicate that
Freud had disavowed his views in this aspect, or thought that
this procedure had not been good and later on had acted in a
different manner. While the contrary is not demonstrated to us
we have no ground whatever for thinking in a different way;
while we do have grounds for maintaining that Freud did not
depart in this respect from the technique he used in these early
Let us now see the thought and the procedure of the 'classical
technique' in this respect. I refer to the attitude of silence and
few interpretations, as it was described, for instance, by
T. Reik in his paper 'The Psychological Meaning of Silence'
( I g27), and as can be deduced from the answers to the question-
naire prepared by Glover in 1939 (1955) as the attitude of a
'large majority' of analysts.
Above all, it rouses attention (and causes a certain reaction
of surprise or criticism) how little this attitude has been dealt
with and discussed, in its fundamental aspects as well as in its
consequences, although being a matter of the greatest im-
portance. Reik limits himself to showing what the analyst's
silence produces in the patient, pointing out that the most
significant consequence is that the patient, under the pressure
of silence which from a certain moment onwards is usually
experienced as a threat, communicates material until then
concealed, making new confessions. We get the impression that
the analyst's silent attitude is largely determined by the idea
that confession as such is a very important or even decisive
factor in the cure, which represents a very Christian but not
entirely psycho-analytic idea. For, according to psycho-
analysis, what restores health is not confession but making
conscious the unconscious, and for this interpretation is
necessary. Making conscious what is unconscious is, in a certain
aspect, really a confession, but its essence is the dissolution of
the resistances through knowledge. On the contrary, the tech-
nique described by Reik, in using silence to obtain more con-
fessions, gives the impression of being a somewhat coercive
method, something similar to a military siege. The analyst is
largely identifying the patient with his resistances, which does
not correspond with psychological reality, since the patient also
wishes to overcome them, etc. I t has moreover, bad conse-
quences for the maintenance of the important real positive
transference, the persecutory or 'idealized' transference follow-
ing-or becoming intensified-in its place. I n any case, the
analyst's silence is a form of acting. To interpret also is to act.
However, inasmuch as we consider the interpretation as the
health-restoring instrument par excellence, we must consider
silence as opposed to interpreting, that is to say, as 'acting' and
not-interpreting. On the other hand, a more or less generalized
agreement exists that the analyst must not resort to 'acting'
(e.g. to demanding or prohibiting, to exerting pressure by
setting a date for the termination of treatment, or ( I add) to
using prolonged silence), unless all his interpretative efforts
have not led to the desired result.
Moreover, other factors exist which generally advise a greater
interpretative activity, and to some of these I shall now refer.
The patient's communications are based on particular
transference situations, and the former produce the latter in
their turn. For instance, the more the patient 'confesses', the
more the analyst becomes transformed into the -oral superego,
which in one aspect constitutes the patient's good part, since
the moral superego springs, as Freud (1913) shows, from the
son's love for the father (or for the parents). But the more the
analyst becomes transformed into this good part of the patient,
the more dissociated the latter becomes, remaining more and
more identified with his censored part, that is to say, his 'bad'
part, while the analyst is more and more transformed into an
idealized (and at the same time persecuting) object. Free
association, from this point of view, involves a pathological
process, and must not bc considered as a curative process. The
latter consists in the reintegration of the parts of the ego through
the interpretation, and must follow that pathological process.
This fact, or rather, the awareness of the fact that such com-
munication of material on the part of the patient involves
giving away a part of his personality, constitutes, I believe, one
of the grounds on which many of the analysts of today interpret
with much greater frequency, thus returning to the patient
that which he has placed in the analyst, and which in reality
pertains to him.
Another important motive for interpreting more is the
greater working-through of unconscious conflicts which the
patient can achieve in this manner. The concept of 'working-
through' was originally used by Freud (1914) in this sense, that
is to say, as the task of deepening insight, which the patient
must carry out after receiving the correct interpretations.
Later on, in this term was included the part of the work which
-with the same purpose of deepening and assimilating
knowledge on the part of the patient-the analyst must carry
out (Fenichel, I 939), and this, i.e. the necessity and importance
of pointing out to the patient again and again the 'here too'
and the 'here once more', is what demands that the interpre-
tations be frequent. For instance, the transference conflicts of
the moment usually appear in the associative material the
patient brings, as well as in the manner of bringing it, and
very especially in his emotional relations to the interpretations;
in this way each one of his expressions can in effect be the
object of a transference interpretation, can be used to show
him the 'here once more'.
One consequence of the analyst's more active intervention, is
that he includes himself more in the psycho-analytic process,
presenting himself more as an object to the patient; and,
though in one way or another he is present, being more active
when interpreting more, the analyst generally gives greater
impulse to the transference experience. I n its turn, this fact
may constitute a stimulus for a more extensive interpretative
activity on the part of the analyst.
I have already mentioned the change which the increase of
psychological knowledge potentially brings with it in regard to
the quantity of interpretations, and I would here like to add
the great importance of practice in the understanding of each
happening of the session in order to see quickly what happens,
and be able to interpret it to advantage. When Freud told
patients about the fundamental rule he used to say, 'I must
know much about you before I can tell you something' (1913),
which was true. Today this is no longer true, where the analyst
has assimilated and transformed into understanding the
knowledge that has been added in the fifty years which have
passed since then. I would here like to mention that the practice
of always seeing, in each piece of material, resistance (defence)
and content (what is rejected), and of not considering anything
as an expression of resistance only, probably plays an important
part in being able to interpret more than what seems to have
been usual in the so-called 'classical' technique.
On the other hand, it must be pointed out that important
arguments assist the 'classical' procedure too, as for instance,
the value of the patient's encounter with himself, the advantage
given by the putting into action of one's own forces, the
weakening of the resistances and defences due to the absence of
'support' or 'reassurance' which the interpretation frequently
signifies, the value of emotional abreaction, etc. However, I
think that, in short, these arguments have much less weight
than those which second the more active interpretative attitude,
already because of the simple fact that only the interpretation
can make conscious the unconscious.
But I must mention that some specific psychological situ-
ations exist which are important in certain.patients, with whom,
for a limited time, the active interpretative attitude may be
contra-indicated. For instance, situations exist in which the
interpretation -the analyst's speaking-acts to an excessive
degree as a defence, or is even uhconsciously aroused to that
end. In some cases, this situation can be modified by means of
its interpretation, in others it seems necessary for the analyst to
'act', that is to say, that he make the patient experience the
rejected situation by means of a somewhat prolonged silence.
In such cases, the analyst usually feels in his countertransfer-
ence that the patient is presenting the material to these ends.
On onc occasion, for instance, I had the feeling that a patient
was offering her material to me as one offers grain to a bird.
'1'0 start with I actually 'pecked' up the grain (i.c. interpreted
thc material), until I understood her behaviour (and my own),
tllcn taking it as the object of my interpretations. I t was a
manic defcnce: the patient had identified herself with the
mother and had placed me in the situation of the little girl,
thus controlling the underlying anxiety situations.
In an opposite sense too, the interpretation asfood for example,
this may act as a manic defence in the unconscious, since on
one level, to receive interpretations represents the union with
the object (breast, etc.) frr the patient. But on the other hand,
the good interpretation intensifies the important sublimated
positive transference, and more than anything makes conscious
the unconscious. The fact, then, that the giving of intrepreta-
tions lends itself to reinforcement of the rejection of the nega-
tive transference and specially of the depressive and paranoid
experiences in the transference, is not a sufficient motive for not
interpreting. But one must pay attention to this fact, since the
patient's use of the analyst's interpretation for manic defence
can sometimes become the decisive and cardinal point of the
analytic situation, which must be modified-be it directly by
means of the interpretation, or first by means of the influence
of prolonged silence and then by interpreting-before being
able to return to the 'normal' interpretative activity.
This manic use of the interpretation is only one of the multiple
and complex relations of the patient to the interpretation. Of
late, various analysts have been engaged in the deep analysis of
these relations, which are an integral part of transference
analysis (Horney, 1936; Klein et al., 1952; Racker, 1957;
Alvarez de Toledo, 1955). The quantity of the interpretations
plays an important part in these relations and has diverse
meanings (Gonzalez, 1956),which frequently need to be in-
terpreted for the analyst to be able to maintain the quantity
of interpretations which by itself he considers as the optimum,
and in order that he should not have to act, keep silent, or be
induced by the patient to act in this (or in another) way.
The problem of 'how much' is intimately related to the prob-
lem of when to interpret. In the last instance it is the 'when'
which determines the 'how much'. In his 'Further Recom-
mendations on the Technique of Psycho-Analysis' Freud deals
with one aspect of the timing of the interpretation, and estab-
lishes a rule he deduces from the basic principles of the healing
process. The energetic sources of healing, Freud points out, are
the interpretation and the positive transference, since the
patient makes use of the interpretation only when he finds him-
self in a good affective relation to the analyst. That is why the
analyst must make his communications only when thc patient is in the
positive transference, or else, if this is not the case, he must a n a h the
'transference resistances' to be able to re-establish the positive
transference (Freud, 1 g 1 3).
The 'transference resistances' are, as is well known, the
negative and sexual transfcrences. Freud's rule thus means
that as soon as the positive transference is disturbed by the
negative or sexual transference, the latter must be analysed
in the first place, and it means, moreover, that this analysis
fortifies the positive transference which had been disturbed.
Thus we see that a full agreement exists between this rule and
that which later on Reich (1933) and then Klein (1932, 1955)
have stressed in this respect, especially in what refers to the
analysis of the negative transference and its significance.
Freud also establishes a second rule in regard to timing;
it is the rule indicating when to begin the interpretations of the
transference. Freud says: 'So long as the patient's communica-
tions and ideas run on without any obstruction the theme of
transference should be left untouched' ( I g r 3). At present, many
of us evidently do not comply with this rule. But to those words
Freud immediately adds these: 'One must wait until the trans-
ference, which is the most delicate of all procedures has become
a resistance.' And it is in obedience to these words-or rather,
to their spirit-that that rule is not fulfilled. For many of us
have observed that the 'transference resistances' exist together
with the transference anxieties from the first moment of the
analysis onwards (and even 'so long as the patient's com-
munications and ideas run on without any obstruction'), and
many of us think that the sooner these anxieties and resistances
are analysed, the greater the security with which the patient 'is
attached to the treatment and to the person of the doctor', the
aim which Freud, with all logic, designates as the first aim of
treatment. The running on 'without any obstruction' of
thoughts and ideas, looked a t more closely, shows itself to be a
complex phenomenon. For instance, the generous giving of
material may be a defence in face of a transference anxiety
which arises in face of the danger of the unconscious desires or
acts of theft being discovered (Freud, I g I 3).
But here we find that in another of his papers, Freud himself
gives reason to those who do not fulfil this rule. I n the Epilogue
to the case history of Dora-where Freud considers the tech-
nical errors to which he attributed the premature interruption of
treatment -he says (1905): 'But I was deaf to this first note of
warning [with respect to the transference], thinking I had
ample time before me, since no further stages of transference
developed and the material for the anaZysis had notyet run dry' (my
italics). Here Freud sees that the fact that 'the material does not
run dry' is not sufficient reason to leave 'the theme of the
transference untouched', and at precent many of us agree with
this judgement.
The Postscript to 'Dora' was written nearly ten years before
the paper in which Freud established that rule with respect to
the timing of the transference interpretation. We find ourselves,
therefore, in face of a real contradiction of Freud. We can only
conjecture as to its cause. That Freud should have removed
that experience with Dora from his consciousness-due to
countertransference motives or to a remnant of counterresist-
ance towards the analysis of the transference in general-does
not seem impossible to me. But it also may be, that with this
rule he wanted to protect the beginner in analysis from becoming
too soon involved in the difficulties of transference analysis. I n
this case we would find ourselves in face of a rule of a didactical
order rather than a technical rule.
Aside from what we have just quoted from Freud, the prob-
lem of timing has not often been the direct object of investiga-
tion (Glover, I 955). Evidently, the 'when' of the interpretation
also depends on those four factors, i.e. on how much we know
and understand, on our 'secondary concepts', on individual
factors (especially on the countertransference), and on the
'genealogic' factor. The different positions towards the analysis
of the resistance and of the transference, again play an import-
ant part in this respect. Here too, the extremes are, on the one
hand, 'the silent analyst' who tends to let the patient 'run
along', and who very carefully selects the opportune moment
for the interpretation, and on the other hand, the analyst who
considers that-in principle and potentially-every moment
is opportune, since every moment contains a 'point of urgency'
or a 'pathological point' (i.e. of anxiety and defence), all these
'points' forming a line which is usually called 'the thread' of
the session. For these analysts the interpretation must be given
whcn the analyst knows what the patient does not know, needs to know,
and is capable of knowing. And this generally occurs, soon and
very often in each session, if the analyst has practised his
capacity to understand the patient's material.
I must-for reasons of space-leave aside other aspects of
timing (Glover, I 955)' and of the problem of the 'form' (Glover,
I 955; G. Racker, 1957)' to refer to the 'what' of the interpreta-
tion, or more precisely, to its dynamic aspect (inasmuch as the
interpretation refers to the internal forces in contest), to its
economic aspect (referring to what at a given moment is the most
important to interpret), and to its slmctural aspect (inasmuch as
the interpretation refers to the diverse instances of the psychic
structure). One remembers the basic classical rules in this
regard, for instance the indication that the interpretation must
start from what the patient expresses, from the 'surface', from
what is close to consciousness, and that only afterwards it must
point out the 'deep' aspects, what is farther from consciousness.
In the structural aspect it was emphasized that the complete
interpretation should refer to the id, ego and superego, starting
from the ego and its mechanisms of defence (as being closest to
These and some other basic rules are accepted, in principle,
by all analysts. However, opinions differ again in the inter-
pretation and application of these principles. For instance,
already the rule-immediately deduced from the principle first
mentioned-that first the resistances and then the impulses
must be interpreted, has been and continues to be the object of
discussions (Fenichel, 1939). I shall return to this problem later
The most important differences with respect to 'what' to
interpret, issue from the diverse stages of psycho-analytic know-
ledge and from the diverse positions of analysts towards it. The
most outstanding historical stages are well known: attention
was first directed to the repressed contents, then to the resist-
ances, later on to the structure of the personality, afterwards to
the 'formal elements' of behaviour, to the character of the
patient, and with this-although already emphasized by Freud
in earlier papers-the greater attention to the transference,
that is to say, to the patient's object relations. Finally, at
present, we have realized more and more that the analysis is
a relationship between two individuals-of the patient to the
analyst and of the analyst to the patient-and have directed
our attention to the transference and countertransference and
their mutual relation (Balint, I 950; Heimann, 1950; Racker,
I 957). In this sense, some (or many) of today's analysts obtain
the content for many of their principal interpretations from the
perception of their countertransference, that is to say, from what
they feel and see in themselves as objects of the transference of
their patients.
It is in the aspect of the analysis of object relations where, I
believe, the greatest differences exist between what yesterday's
and today's 'classical' analysts interpret on the one hand, and
on the other, what other analysts of today interpret, especially
those belonging to the Kleinian group. Klein's discoveries con-
cerning earliest infancy, concerning the paranoid-schizoid, de-
pressive, and manic positions; the greater understanding of the
unconscious fantasies as the mental expression of the id, ego and
superego, and their continuous presence and interplay; the new
knowledge with respect to the internal objects, to the relations
between internal and external world, to the role played by the
death instinct and the mechanisms of projection, introjection,
splitting, reparation, etc., to the patient's relations with himself
and between his parts, all of this has modified, and to my mind,
greatly enriched the 'what' of the interpretations of those who
have made this knowledge their own, the 'when' and 'how
much' of the interpretations being decisively modified at the
same time.'
On the other side, today's 'classical analysts' have in their
turn progressed, enriching their knowledge, specially with
regard to the ego and its methods of facing external and internal
stimuli (A. Freud, I 936; Hartmann, I 95 1;Kris, I gg I ;Loewen-
stein, 1951). Furthermore, the different analytic groups of the
whole world have made investigationsin multiple directions and
have contributed new knowledge. I n the Argentine group, for
instance, special attention has been dedicated to psychosomatic
processes, the content of the corresponding interpretations being
enlarged and deepened through the understanding obtained
(Garma, I 954; Langer, 1951; Rascovsky ct al., I 948). Lately,
a number of Argentine analysts have been dedicated to the
study of problems of interpretation in particular clinical condi-
tions (Mom, 1957; Garcia Reinoso, 1957)~and the study of
articular levels of experience (Cesio, I 957; Garma, I 957;
gascovskY ct al., 1957)
Before closing my remarks about interpretation I would like
to refer to two specific problems.
(a) One of them-already mentioned-refers to the inter-
pretation of 'content' and resistance, and to the relation between
1 I do not here give a detailed exposition of the influence which each
one of these discoveries has had upon the 'Kleinian' technique, since
Klein and her co-workers have done so in various of their papers (see
References). For instance, as to the influence which the Kleinian con-
cept of unconscious fantasy has exerted on technique, see Isaacs ct al.
( I 952)) Heimann ( I 956), etc. I have proceeded similarly with other
topics, limiting myself to a simple mention of what is generally known.
these two aspects of the interpretation. As to the classical rule:
'first interpret the defences and then the impulses', other
motives than the classical ones exist for not interpreting the
impulses without simultaneously indicating the corresponding
defences. I have already pointed out that any interpretation of
a repressed impulse, without interpretation of the defence, in-
duces splitting (which is contained in the pathological defence)
of the patient's personality within the transference, that is to say,
it creates (or confirms) a pathological relation to the analyst;
for when interpreting the rejected impulse, the analyst is identi-
fied with the rejecting ego while the patient remains identified
with the impulse. Furthermore, I believe that the patient's
splitting is intensified by such an interpretation, it being the
expression of an object (the analyst) which is split off within his
own self: for this partial interpretation testifies in effect that the
analyst has been blind-for the moment at least- to the aspect
of the ego's defence, and this frequently means that he has been
blind to the patient's affectionate part, to Eros which defends
the life of the object or of the ego. T o the unconscious such
blindness means absence of love, this being one of the principal
factors which intensify pathological mechanisms.
But also the interpretation which refers only to the resistance
or defence may lead to a similar splitting. T o avoid this, the
positive tendencies which protect life, inherent in these same
resistances (defences), must be interpreted simultaneously, or
else the positive tendencies which are rejected by the resistances
must be pointed out.
The importance of the integrative interpretation can be illus-
trated schematically by two general situations. If the rejected
impulse is of an aggressive kind, its rejection is carried out for
love towards the object or the ego. If only the impulse is pointed
out by the analyst, the interpretation identifies the patient with
that which is rejected, that is to say, with 'the bad'. If the
rejected ir.lpulse is of a loving kind, its rejection is frequently
carried out due to aggressive motives (for example, due to
rivalry). If the analyst points out only this aspect of the defence,
the interpretation identifies the patient with the rejecting,
aggressive part, i.e. again with 'the bad'.
However, the rule 'analysis of the resistance before analysis
of the content' stands fast where the resistance prevents making
conscious the rejected impulse in a really experienced way. For
instance, while a patient is found to be in a state of paranoic
defence in face of his homosexual feelings towards the analyst,
the projection of his aggressive inlpulses must be analysed before
llc bccoincs able to accept his feelings of love. But on tile other
hand, this does not mean that the two aspects could or should
be strictly separated from each other.
( I ) 'The second of the specific problems refers to the inter-
prctation of conflicts which are 'invisible'. Freud speaks of this
(1937) when stating the question of the possibility of 'vaccin-
ating' the patient against future conflicts, and of the possibility
or indication of arousing latent conflict with such prophylactic
ends in mind. Freud thinks that this would really be feasible by
creating greater frustrations in real life or in the transference,
but he rejects both possibilities: the first one (the creation of
f'rustrations in real life) because it would not be justifiable nor
would the patient accept it, and the second one, because it
would disturb excessively the positive transference, so necessary
for the collaboration of the patient.
The examples quoted by Freud, i.e. the case of the man who
after a relapse reproached Freud for not having analysed his
negative transference, suggest pointing out that at present some
analysts see the problem in a somewhat different manner, and
really arouse latent instinctual conflicts in the transference,
without having recourse to creating 'major frustrations'. They
do it in the certainty that these conflicts exist and just because
they are so rejected (in such a way that they do not appear).
The example quoted by Freud shows this, for a t times the nega-
tive transference really does not appear; but on the other hand
we know, from Freud, that no human relation exists without
hostile feelings, that patient's positive transference must have
been accompanied by rivalry, envy, etc. I n the analysis of the
mechanisms of intense rejection in the transference, of the split
off, denied parts, etc., therefore, resides one of the possibilities,
however limited, of 'prophylaxis'.
I have already mentioned what Freud said about the signi-
ficance of the positive transference for analytic work (especially
for the overcoming of the resistances), and the general agree-
ment which reigns in this respect. If a difference between
Freud's technique and that of other analysts exists, it does not
reside in theory but perhaps in practice, inasmuch as not all of
us-or we do not always -give to this fact its rightful import-
ance; for instance, we frustrate the patient more than is indi-
cntcd for tllc upholding of tlic positive transfcrencc (through a n
crnotioual distancc grcater than necessary, through a lack of
intcrprctrrtiot~s, tllrough partial interpretations in which the
patient's positive nspccts are not adequately considcrcd, ctc.).
Lct mc now bring to mind what Freud thought about the
trrrnsfcrc~icc~icurosisand the role hc ascribed to it in analytic
tltcrnpy. In tlic Iritroductory Lectures, the one on 'Transfcrcnce'
(1917), for instance, 11c says:
. . . The wholc of his illness's new production is concentrated upon
a single point-his rclation to the doctor . . . When the trans-
fcrcncc has risen to this significance, work upon the patient's
mcmorics rctreats far into the background . . . The mastering of
this new, artificial neurosis coincides with gctting rid of the illness
which was originally brought to the treatment-with the accom-
plislimcr~tof our therapeutic task. A person who has become
normal and fiee from the operation of repressed instinctual im-
pulses in his relation to the doctor will remain so in his own life
aftcr thc doctor has once more withdrawn from it.
And in the following Lecture, 'Analytic Therapy', Freud simi-
larly says:
The decisive part of the work is achieved by creating in the
patient's relation to the doctor-in the 'transference'-new edi-
tions of the old conflicts; in these the patient would like to behavt
in thc same way as he did in the past, while we, by summoning
up evcry available mental force [in the patient] compel him to
come to a fresh decision. Thus the transference becomes the battle-
field on which all the mutually struggling forces should meet one
another. All the libido, as well as everything opposing it, is made
to converge solely on the relation with the doctor. . . Since a
fresh repression is avoided, the alienation between ego and libido
is brought to an end and the subject's mental unity is restored.
I have quoted these words somewhat extensively, to re roduce
Freud's basic idea on the healing process, which dates rom the P
year 19I 7, because not infrequently one hears the opinion that
the analysis of the transference neurosis has only later been
given thc importance due to it. I t seems that in practice Freud's
basic idea has been carried out only little by little, but I wished
to present evidence once more that those who nowadays centre
the whole of analysis in the transference, realize what Freud
had described early on as the 'ideal' course of treatmenta1
8 'The more closely events in the treatment coincide with this ideal

Again I think that there is no analyst who would not sub-
scribe to those words (excepting the fact that many-following
the evolution of Freud's own ideas-would propose the term
'instincts' instead of 'libido', and possibly all would substitute
the tcrm 'defence mechanisms' for 'repression'). However,
important differences exist in the application of that basic
principle, which hcre also depend on the four factors mentioned
at the beginning of this chapter, and specially on the different
'fixation points' of different analysts (or of different tendencies)
in one or other of the evolutionary stages of psycho-analysis.

This is particularly true for the dynamics of the transference,

since Freud himself passed through various stages in which he
developed his increasing understanding of the transference,
emphasizing determined aspects in one stage and others in
another stage. Among various papers in which Freud deals with
the dynamics of the transference, and specially with the rela-
tion existing between transference and resistance, there are two
which represent the clearest expression of two different stages
and two different approaches to these problems. I am referring
to 'The Dynamics of Transference' (1912) and Beyond the
Pl~asurePrinciple (1920).In synthesis it can be said that in the
first paper Freud considers the transference preponderantly as
resistance, emphasis being placed on the view that repetition
(contained in the transference) is a resistance. I n the second
monograph, Freud considers repetition as an id-tendency while
resistance springs from the ego, opposing repetition.
How is this contradiction resolved? Is the transference a
resistance, as Freud first asserted, or is it precisely what is
resisted, rejected, as he asserted later on? The answer is simple
but contains complex facts. The answer is that the transference
is both things, it is resistance and it is 'the resisted', according to
which of the two aspects is brought into focus.
First let us see the older concept: the tramfermce as resistance.
With this Freud refers to the negative and sexual transference,
and daily expcrience fully confirms his assertions. I t can be
understood that 'when we come near to a pathogenic complex'
(191I), for instance the father complex, it serves the resistance
to doubt the analyst (father) or desire his sexual love. But let us

description', states Freud after the above-mentioned words, 'the greater

will be the success of the psycho-analytic therapy.'
bc morc detailed. Resistance against what? Frcud tells us
'against analysis', that is to say, against making conscious the
unconscious. He also says it pointing out that 'the transference-
idca lias penetrated into consciousness in front of any other
possible associations, because it satisfies the resistance' (ibid.).But
Freud also expresses it this way: 'Thc patient repeats instead of
remembering' ( 1 913) and I believe it is this formulation which
lcnt itself to a misunderstanding, to which important technical
divergences were due later on.
What Frcud points out here, is, to my mind, the tendency to
reproduce unconsciously certain impulses 'instead of' making
them conscious. But this does not mean that an opposition exists
between making a repressed impulse conscious in the trans-
ference, and doing it as a cllildhood recollection (provided that
one as wcll as the other is really experienced, i.e. that it is a real
making conscious). Even more, Freud underlines that many
times this making conscious cannot be realized through child-
hood recollections, but only through the transference, this latter
way of making conscious being equivalent to the former. But it
seems-and this is the misunderstanding I referred to-that a t
times the transference itself was interpreted as resistance, instead
of only what has 'penetrated into consciousness' being seen as
In other words, for Freud 'resistance' and 'making conscious
the unconscious' were opposed, and he pointed out as resistance
the superficial, conscious transference ideas. The other, oppo-
site aspect, was the unconscious impulse, independently of
whether or not it referred to the analyst or to the original in-
fantile object, since, given 'the absence of time in the uncon-
scious' ( I ~ I I ) the
, analyst and the father (or mother) are,
for the unconscious one and the same person. But I believe, as I
have said, that this was not always interpreted in this manner,
and from here, in part, arose two divergent technical ten-
dencies: one which emphasized the childhood recollection pro-
perly speaking (since the transference in itself was considered
as resistance), and another which emphasized the re-experience
and rendering conscious in the transference.
I n Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920), Freud clarified what in
that first paper had perhaps remained still somewhat obscure,
pointing out that the transference is what is resisted and establish-
ing the following rule: 'The physician places himself on the side
of the id and of its tendency towards repetition, and struggles
against the (resistances of the ego which oppose repetition'.
To exemplify the two aspects of the transference in question:
if during treatment a patient arrives at his very rejected, femi-
nine feelings towards the father-analyst, if he defends himself
with hate, projects this hate, and thus distrust and paranoid
ideas emerge in relation to the father-analyst, these latter
feelings are the resistance (the 'transference resistance'), and
the feminine feelings are what is resisted. According to Freud,
what 'the cure would have wished for', would have been for the
patient to remember his feminine feelings towards the father
and not to repeat them with the analyst. But it is not this repeti-
tion which is 'resistance', but these repeated (feminine) im-
pulses are the expression of the resisted id. The resistance (the
'transference resistance') resides in the paranoid distrust which
in effect is 'that part of the pathogenic complex which is first
thrust forward into consciousness', and this because it also
satisfies resistance'.
It is my impression, as I have already mentioned, that these
two aspects of the dynamics of the transference, emphasized by
Freud in two different stages, determine an important part of
the difference among the diverse techniques with respect to the
analysis of the transference. For one group of analysts the
transference is predominantly resistance. For them, the essen-
tial aspect of the analytic process is thus to 'recollect' the
repressed infancy properly speaking, to 'fill in the gaps in
memory', and the transference is, according to Freud, an instru-
m.ent to attain this. Here the principal danger of erring lies in
that the past and the analytic present may not be sufficiently
seen in their identity.' For another group of analysts, the essen-
tial aspect of the psycho-analytic process is found in the trans-
ference itself, that is to say, in the re-experience, simultaneously
'avoiding a new repression' (1917), or overcoming the patho-
logical defence mechanisms. To carry terms to an extreme, it
may be said that for these analysts the transference is not an
instrument to render childhood conscious, but that infancy is
an instrument to render the transference conscious. I n part,
Here I leave aside other 'dangers' which this approach involves and
which have already been pointed out repeatedly. I specially refer to the
danger of remembering concealingre-experience (of recollectionsserving
as defence in face of present conflicts with the analyst), and the danger
that past and present become split 03,for instance, into the (past) 'bad'
parents and the (present) 'good' analyst; that is to say, that the recol-
lections serve as a vehicle for repeating old splitting processes (these
sometimes even being unconsciously aided by the analyst).
this point of view can already rest on that first paper 'The
Dynamics of the Tracsference' ( I g I 2), where Freud asserted
that in the end 'every conflict has to be fought out in thc sphere
of transference'; and further on, 'for when all is said and done,
it is impossible to destroy anyone in absentia or in eJigie'. Thougli
childhood and transference are a t bottom one and the same
thing, nevertheless the transference is that which livcs and scts
in the present, and the childhood recollections are brought along
and must be interpreted in the functioning of this old-new
living reality. Besides being the indispensable instrument for
understanding the transference, the childhood recollections
also serve to give to the transference relations their real namc
(mother, father, etc.), which is of a historical nature; it is a
piece of truth, of historical reality which continues to be present
and wliich is communicated to the patient in this way. And
last but not least, thc childhood recollections are an essential
instrument in order to 'clean' the transference experience of
certain aspects of the character of reality they frequently hold
for thc patient. The danger for this group of analysts is to make
the mistake of overlooking the resistant character of particular
transference situations.
In summary, analytic therapy is centred on the analysis of
the transfcrence neurosis. The difference among theoretical
opinions with respect to the dynamics of the transference-very
important because of its influence on practice-may be re-
solved with a synthesis of Freud's different approaches, which
may be formulated thus: The transference is resistance and is 'the
resisted', i.e. the patient repeats infantile defences (which are the 'trans-
ference resistances) to avoid rendering conscious childhood situations of
anxiety andpain which he is about to re-experience in the tranSference (see
Chapter 3).
Perhaps a t this point I could consider this section on the
dynamics of transference as finished. However, I would like to
return to two points which may not have been sufficiently clari-
fied. While doing so, I shall not be able to avoid some repeti-
(a) When speaking of the two technical approaches, I referred
to two different possible errors. The first approach dealt with
the danger of the past and the analytical prcscnt not being
sufficiently seen in their identity. With this I refer to the mis-
taken idea we sometimes encounter, that what is most rejected
is the memory of the past (in a historical sense), the rejected
past and present in reality being identical. Freud's term to
'rcmcn~bcr' is hcre, and I rcpcat, equivalent to 'make con-
scious'. For instance, if a female patient dcsircs to lla\re scsual
relations wit11 tile analyst, she rcpeats this dcsirc not 'to not
rccollcct' hcr scxual dcsirc towards the fi~tllcr(since it is the
samc), but shc rcpeats it instcad of 'rcmcmbcring', for example,
ccrtniil aspccts of her situation as 'the cxcludcd third'. The
scxual dcsirc 'pcnctratcd to consciousness, bccausc it satisf cs the
rcsistancc'; what is resisted may bc the expcricncc of the primal
sccnc with its inllcrcilt paranoid and dcpressivc anxieties and
pains. Tllc 'being in love' thus efrectively prcscnts itself at times
as 'rcsistancc', not against tlie recollection of sometlling 'past',
but against something which has ncver become 'past', that is to
say, against thc making conscious and the experience 'of the
particularly painful and heavily repressed part' ( I g I 5) of the
psychological personality and of life, which existed and exists
equally in the past and in the present.
Illustrating the transferenct, which are brought into action
to scrve as rcsistance, Freud cites the cases of those patients who
begin their treatment saying that nothing occurs to them, for
instance 'women who are prepared by events in their past
lzistory to be subjcctcd to sexual aggression or 'men with over-
strong repressed homosexuality . . .' (1913). I think that the
inlierent dynamic process could be, in the case of such women,
that oedipal transference desires are rejected by means of the
idea: 'it is not I who have these desires but it is the father-
analyst who wants to violate me'. And in the case of such men:
'I am not a man-rival of the father-analyst but am a woman and
I desire the analyst's penis'. That is to say, the transference
fantasies which lend themselves to the resistance are put into
action against the rejected (feared) transference fantasies. The
transference is, thus, resistance and 'the resisted'.
The other mistake that can be made-in the other technical
approach-is, to my mind, that of overlooking the resistance
character of determined transference situations. I t is known,
for instance, that the woman patient sometimes transfers her
maternal imago onto her male analyst, in order to defend her-
self from the paternal transference or vice versa; or that she sees
a n old man in the analyst, to defend herself against the young
and attractive paternal imago; or that the male patient sees in
his woman analyst the 'mother-witch', in order to defend him-
selffrom his oedipal impulses towards her, etc. All this is known,
but it still seems necessary according to my observation, to
insist upon it.
This also brings to mind how-lately and especially in the
papers of some analytic groups-the concept of the trans-
ference as resistance, and the corresponding term 'transference
resistance', has become more and more rare. This fact has a
certain similarity, and internal kinship too, with a phenomenon
that can be observed (though with lesser intensity) in another
very important field of psycho-analytic. investigation, that is,
the field of dreams. A brief digression here can be justified by
the fact that the analogy with the dream will help us in the
elaboration of the problem we are dealing with. Besides, it
points at an important aspect in the technique of dream-
interpretation. I refer to the fact that sometimes a certain tcn-
dency can be observed-and this in spite of Freud's many
warnings-to be satisfied with the interpretation of the conflict
contained (in distorted form) in the manifest dream (by un-
doing these distortions) and to disregard the dream's deeper
dynamics, that is to say, the fact. that the manifest conflict
springs from a latent one. T o clarify this, let us take the follow-
ing example: A patient dreams that he comes into a big
library. There, with surprise, he sees his wife and behind her a
man who embraces her from the back, holding her breasts.
The patient feels intensely jealous. The interpretation of the
conflict contained (in distorted form) in the manifest dream is
the following: The big library is the analyst's consulting-room,
the many books representing the analyst's supposed wealth of
knowledge. The woman represents the patient's female part.
Seeing how his feminine part lets itself be embraced by the
analyst, the patient-in his masculine and rival part in relation
to the analyst-becomes intensely jealous. Supposing that this
interpretation is, as I believe, exact, the essential aspect, the
dynamics of the dream are, however, still missing in this inter-
pretation. For every dream is 'an attempt to satisfy a desire', or
in other words, it is an attempt to defend oneselffrom a situation
of frustration, i.e. from pain or anxiety. I n the case presented,
this latent situation was a feeling of guilt arising from the pre-
ceding analytic session, due to the patient's intense emotional
approach to the analyst (which had been the principal subject
of that session). This emotional approach constituted a mutual
internal embrace between his feminine and masculirle parts (a
'narcissistic' position similar to his masturbatory fantasies). I t
1 This interpretation is based, naturally, on a series of associations I
cannot reproduce here. I have presented a more detailed analysis of
this dream in another paper (Racker, ig60).
was under the pressure of this feeling of guilt and 'attempting to
satisfy the desire' of regaining the father-analyst, that in the
dream the patient fantasied the surrender of his feminine part
(his wife) to the analyst.
Returning to the subject of the transference, what is, dyna-
mically, the current transference of this patient? Is it resistance
or what is being resisted? It is both, according to which aspect
and which moment of his transference we are referring to. If we
refer to his emotional approach, we ficd ourselves facing a
resistance (the 'transference resistance'), and if we refer to his
feminine feelings, we are facing 'the resisted'. On the other hand,
in the dream-and at times analogously in the analytic situa-
tion-the emotional approach and the inherent feeling of guilt
are the rejected aspects, and the feminine surrender is the
defence, the 'transference resistance'. Thus, as in the inter-
pretation of dreams, the double nature of the transference, its
manifest and its latent content, resistance and 'the resisted',
should always be kept in mind.
(b) However, the technical differences pointed out are based,
I believe, also on certain of Freud's own doubts, which are
specially manifest in some oscillations in his practical assertions
or advice. He says, for instance, on the one hand: 'Thus our
therapeutic work falls into two phases. In the first, all the libido
is forced away from the symptoms into the transference and
concentrated there; in the second, the struggle is waged around
this new object and the libido is liberated from it' (1917).And
on the other hand: 'It has been the physician's endeavour to
keep this transference neurosis within the narrowest limits: to
force as much as possible into the channel of memory and to
allow as little as possible to emerge as repetition' (1920). In
part, these oscillations possibly have emotional roots; .perhaps
it was that Freud wished to spare the patient the full ~ntensity
and violence of the repetition of infancy; or perhaps it was an
unconscious rejection of an intense countertransference ex-
perience (which constitutes an inevitable response to an in-
tense transference experience) which led to the tendency to
limit the transference neurosis.' Besides, we have to keep in
Compare the following words in Beyond the Pleasure Principle: the
patient 'is obliged to repeat the repressed material as a contemporary
experience instead of, as the physician would prcfcr (my italics) to see,
remembering it as something belonging to the past'. And: 'These repro-
ductions which emerge with such unwished-for exactitude', and: 'As a rule
the physician cannot spare his patient this phase of the treatment . . .'.
mind the external world's opposition to the analytic trans-
ference. This opposition may have increased Freud's oedipal
guilt feeling on reproducing 'the oedipal crime' in the trans-
ference, specially with his female patients. We may thus suppose
that without the interference of these emotional and environ-
mental factors Freud's position in favour of the centralization
of analysis in :he transference neurosis (in the 'here and now')
would have been expressed in even more unequivocal terms.
In connexion with this, it must again be pointed out that, in
the last analysis, all 'remembering' also represents, at the same
time, a determined transference relation, and every rejection of
remembering represents the rejection of a determined trans-
ference relation. Let us take, for example, the case of a patient
who remembers his tendency to steal other men's women, or
who remembers his infantile masturbation which has an analo-
gous content. I n both cases, in his latent fantasy, it is the father-
analyst whom he has robbed in this way, or whom he wants to
rob again. Instead of admitting this to consciousness, he has the
conscious fantasy that the analyst wants to take his money away
from him. This is the 'transference resistance' against that
'remembering' (that is to say, against the rendering conscious
of the desired or perpetrated robbery of the father-analyst), this
'remembering' clearly being the other transference situation
(the rejected one).
I would now like to return to a specific aspect of the analysis
of the transference which I was able only to mention before. I
said that for the second group c f analysts, the relation to the
analyst is the essential matter; for them, the emerging infantile
recollections are, from a dynamic point of view, a function of
the transference, for instance, an allusion to it, a 'parabola'
(Heimann, I g56),or 'retrogressive' screen memories (Baer Bahia,
I 956; Freud, I 899).l At the same time, these analysts emphasize
(implicit or explicitly) that the patient's behaviour, though
based on fantasies of the past, becomes a reality, which in its turn
creatcs problems and conflicts that in one of their aspects, are
equally real. This, too, is in principle recognized by every ana-
1 According to Freud ( I 899)' the 'retrogressive' screen memories are
those infantile recollections which screen ulterior or current experiences,
their appearance obeying the same mechanisms and ends as those screen
memories which have 'pushed forward' (compromise-formations ana-
logous to dreams, neurotic symptoms, etc.).
lyst, but I bclicve that in its application important differences
exist again, depending, above all, on 'secondary concepts'. I
would like to cite an example which shows the exchange of one
approach for another and illustrates these differences in one
A patient whose main symptom was his intense lack of affect-
ive conncxioll with other peoplc, brought the following dream:
Together with my mother I come into a room where my father
is. I am embracing my mother. Ay father looks at her severely,
as if angry, because she has arrived late. I want to protect her
with my embrace.
The father represented the analyst, towards whom the patient
behaved predominantly as in the manifest dream, that is to say,
keeping his feminine part (the libidinal feelings towards the
father which were represented by the mother) 'embraced' to
himself. (Underlying this was the fear of being exposed to the
primal scene in the transference-a fear which had arisen in
the previous session, the dream being meant to calm this fear.)
This 'embrace' was the unconscious foundation of his affective
discomexion in his relation to the analyst. I t can also be under-
stood that the patient's behaviour in the manifest dream was a
modified representation of his oedipal masturbation. Since long
ago the patient had had the sensation that his guilt-feelings,
due to his infantile m,asturbation, had been decisive in his
becoming ill. I n earlier stages of his analysis we had repeatedly
and with little success searched for his repressed masturbatory
fantasies, while the patient-as we now understood through
the above-mentioned dream-had been, at the same time, act-
ing them in the reality of his behaviour towards myself. (We
had been looking for the mosquito and had let the elephant pass
by.) For during all this time, he internally held his 'mother' in
an 'embrace', keeping me emotionally separated from her, in
the situation of the 'excluded third', by preventing the mother
(his feminine part) from loving me and binding her to himself.
I n this sense, his guilt-feelings and consequent persecutory
anxieties, were no longer simply 'transferred' and simply 'un-
real fantasies'. He really treated me 'badly', really excluded me
(in part), and was in effect, psychologically, in a more or less
continued 'masturbation' in front of me. What had begun as a
fantasy (the underlying and feared transferred primal scene)
became partially transformed into a reality (the 'masturbatory'
behaviour) To this also corresponded the countertransference
reaction, which, equally in part, consisted in a certain annoy-
ance or 'anger', just as the patient perceived it intuitively in the
dream. If the analyst does not deny such countertransference
reactions in himself, these may become an important key for
the apprehension of transference situations.
The transference is a constant reality which begins even before
the first interview. I t is complex and partially neurotic from the
Iirst day on, due to which some groups of analysts analyse the
transference neurosis from the very beginning of treatment and
with full continuity. We have also increasingly realized that the
patient acts out through associating (Freud, 19I 4; Liberman, I 957;
G. Racker, 1957; W. Reich, 1933; Alvarez de Toledo, ~ g y j ) ,
due to which-in order to understand the transference-we
are always more interested not only in what the patient says,
how, when, and why he says it, but also for what he says it. I
have mentioned (p. 40) an example based on a patient who
brought a great deal of material, 'without obstruction' (she
gave a great deal and did not want to receive anything from
the analyst), to demonstrate in this manner that she had neither
stolen nor come to steal anything. This was the unconscious
meaning of what she did on associating, while the unconscious
content of her associations largely referred to the perpetrated
robberies. These were her 'old fantasies' which appeared again
in the transference, being used to express-by means of the
action of giving a great deal-her 'new transference-fantasy',
whichaboveallconsistedinnotbecominga thief again (G. Racker,
I 957). TIIUS we have come to differentiate diverse aspects of the
'total transference', such as those I have mentioned, for example,
or to differentiate what in it arises from the past, what from the
prescnt, and what is directed towards the future (see Chapter 6).
We have also progressed, I believe, in our understanding of
mental movement or the sequence of the associative material (in
addition to its unconscious content), in its relation to the trans-
ference. We are also giving more attention towards the roles the
patient desires the analyst to accept and play, according to the
imagos he represents for the patient on the basis of his latent
and communicated associations, and according to the anxieties,
needs for defence, and desires these imagos originate in the
Freud's teaching that the healing process essentially consists
in a transformation of the patient's instinctual and emotional
rclation to the analyst, has been increasingly assimilated, and
each time the interpretations are more directed to the trans-
ference conflicts. I believe this to be true for every analyst,
leaving aside a few exceptions, although with variations accord-
ing to the group and the individual. We accept more and more
that in the unconscious the analyst is the centre of all of the
patient's love and hate, anxiety and defence, and thus we con-
clude that all the patient's difficulties, all his sufferings and
anxieties during the treatment, have their base in the trans-
ference. This is true even where the patient leaves us out of his
conscious thoughts and communications; in which case we point
out this rejection, its motives and mechanisms, until the patient
makes contact with the analyst again, that is to say, with him-
self, with the source of his life, his libido, and what is united
with it, his primal objects.

Based on this knowledge many analysts thus actively cmtre their

interpretations on the trumfermce problems, as Freud ( I g I 7) advised.
The patient's conflicts with other ('extra-transference') objects,
are frequently interpreted as conflicts between parts of his own
personality, or else as conflicts with the analyst. But conflicts
between parts of one's own personality are always related to the
transference too, since one of one's own parts is always simul-
taneously projected (manifest or latently) onto the analyst.
This means that also the conflicts with the analyst are not only
conflicts with an object-imago, but always conflicts with a part
of oneself too (e.g. with an ego-imago), and that they must be
analysed as such (Fairbairn, 1952; Heimann, 1956; Klein, 1950;
KTein et al., 1952).
I would like to illustrate this. The associations of the patient
who feared to be judged and rejected as a thief by her woman
analyst, showed that the latter represented her mother, whom
she had emptied in her infantile fantasies. But the rejection on
the part of the maternal imago (superego) was, in the last
instance-as I have already brought out in another example-
the rejection effected by her own love for her mother, against
her own thieving part. (With greater precision it should be said
that it is the part of the ego representative of the girl's love for
her mother which, on perceiving the thieving part, reacts with
anxiety and aggression against the latter.) The patient matches,
or 'identifies' her affectionate part with the maternal imago
(the analyst), since that is the part which identifies affection-
ately with the mother. Furthermore, in another aspect too, the
object was 'a part of her own personality'. The imago of the
ricli mother-analyst (towards ~vliichher impulses to rob were
already directed) arose only in part from the real differences
which had existcd in childhood between the girl's possessions
and those of her mother. O n the other hand, this imago arose
from fantasies which had emerged about this power, on the
basis of the frustrations and gratifications cxpcrienced. And
finally, it was the guilt-feelings and persccutory anxieties due
to the intended or 'realized' robberies, which led the girl to
yield that which was her own, to surrender her (potential)
riches to the mother, in order to 'fill' hcr, and from this emerged
an immensely rich mothcr, an idealized imago. In the trans-
ference, on placing her own affectionate part onto the mother-
analyst, herself remaining with her thieving part rejected by the
former, something similar happens; for shc again 'yields' her
good part and remains with the bad one. Real rejections, criti-
cisms, and prohibitions on the mother's part, play a decisive
role in the psychological configuration, but frequently more as
factors which give rise to, intensify, confirm, or deny those endo-
psychic processes, than as causes properly speaking (Klein,
The transference appears, thus, not only as an object relation,
but also as a relation between parts of the ego, which implies a
major or minor splitting of the patient in the transference. I
have previously already emphasized the importance of con-
tinuously returning to the patient, through the interpretation,
the parts of the ego placed in the analyst, and thus to work
through and rectify splitting.
In the previous example, splitting referred to the 'good' and
the 'bad' part. I n an analogous way-with a similar but not
identical meaning-the sadistic (victimizing, guilty) and the
masochistic (victimized, innocent) parts, or the masculine and
feminine ones, are split off and one or other part placed in the
analyst. I shall give a brief example. A patient dreamt he had a
coitus per anum with a woman. The dream's latent situation was
the current transference situation in which the patient was
anxious in the face of his homosexual fantasies towards the
analyst. I n the analyst he had placed his own masculine part
(in one aspect, he had yielded it to him, and due to guilt feelings
had renounced it), and he defended himself from this anxiety
by reviving his masculine part in the manifest dream, and
placing his feminine part outside, onto the woman with whom
he had anal intercourse. I n the transference, and under the
pressure of this anxiety, he sometimes attempted to place his
feminine part in the analyst, treating him psycllologically as he
physically treated the woman of the dream.
I would like to emphasize that the interpretation of the objects
(analyst, external objects) as parts of the ego (and. id), does not
by any means displace the interpretation in terms of object-
imago and of external reality, but complements it. Emphasis
on the former is due to the fact that in certain aspects it repre-
sents a ncw contribution (by Fairbairn (1952) and Klein et al.
(1952)~especially) to the interpretation of the transference and
of external reality.
The interpretation of the objects as parts of the ego thus in-
volves the real objects. Conflicts with them are, at bottom, con-
flicts of the subject with himself. The relations to objects and to
destiny are based, in their fundamental psychological aspect, on
a (normal orpathological) splitting bfthe ego, and with this approach,
the analyst's task is to show the patient that his world outside and
his world inside are one and the same thing, thus attempting to unite
him at once with his objects and with himself.
But the inverse aspect too, that is to say, the determination of
the subject's relations to himself through the relations to his objects,
is of the greatest importance. For instance, a man's relation to
his father (analyst) will determine his relation to himself as a
man; his relation to the united parents (in the past and in the
transference) will determine his own capacity for affective and
sexual union, etc. (Klein, 1955). The technical question of
which aspect of these interrelations must be interpreted first-
for instance, whether, in a p'articular transference situation, the
corresponding infantile object relation or the relation to one
part of the ego should be interpreted-is resolved, on the basis
of the established technical rules, as the aspect which is closest
to the patient's consciousness and feeling, etc. But these are
details which I cannot go into here.
When speaking of the 'analyst's basic position towards the
patient' (pp. 26-33), I referred to the countertransference in
general terms, and I will now deal with some of its speczjic arpects.
I would have liked to refer to it together wiah the transference,
for transference and countertransference represent two com-
ponents of a unity, mutually giving life to each other and
creating the interpersonal relation of the analytic situation.
However, reasons of exposition suggested dealing with the trans-
ference first, and separately. I shall now, therefore, set forth
what previously had to be left aside, with respect to this inter-
I shall be dealing with this subject in a somewhat different
manner, because the countertransference, as an object ofinvesti-
gation, has a history rather different from the other topics.
During nearly forty years, since Freud (1910) mentioned the
countertransference for the first time, very little had been
written on this subject; that is why it is difficult to compare
'classical' with 'current' techniques in this respect. O n the
other hand, papers on countertransference, which in the last
eight or ten years have become frequent and of greater depth
proceed from every current analytic group; and though they
approach different aspects and speak a somewhat different lan-
guage, for the present it is difficult to distinguish clearly differ-
ent 'trends' in this regard. That is where the main difference
lies between before and now, and it consists in a more or less
general increase of contact with the phenomena and problems
of the countertransference. I therefore limit myself to pointing
to a series of progressive steps which have lately been made in
this field of investigation.
Previously we said that analysts have gradually assimilated
the teaching on the central significance of the transference, and
are on the road towards its full realization. Inasmuch as we
accept that the patient's relation to the analyst is the essential
aspect from a technical point of view, we have also to ascribe a
central significance to the countertransference and this for
various motives (see Chapter 6), but above all because it is
mainly through the countertransference that we feel and can
understand what the patient feels and does in relation to the
analyst, and what he feels and does in face of his instincts and
feelings toward the analyst. Hence the principal interpretation,
the transference interpretation, springs from the countertrans-
The constant reality of the transference is answered by the
constant reality of the countertransference, and i c e versa, The
transference leads to a real behaviour towards the analyst and
his work, and he-from the meanings which hia own person,
his work, and the patient's feelings and acts towards them have
for him- responds with equally real feelings, anxieties, defences,
and desires. This is only one aspect of the interrelation between
transference and countertransference, and I shall refer to others
later on. But I emphasize these facts here, in order to oppose the
resistance which still subsists (though very diminished) in recag-
niziilg the countertransference processes in all their extent and
universality. On the other hand it is evident how important it
is for the analyst, if he wants to 'frec the patient of his repres-
sions in his relations to the physician' (Freud, 19I 71, to be dis-
posed to fully accept not only the transference experience, but
the corrcspo~idingcoulltertransfereilceexperience too; to accept
both of thcm 'free of repressions'. As Freud has pointed out, the
analyst's total internal response is decisive for the understanding
and intcrpretation of the patient's psychological processes.
In studies of countertransference diverse differentiations have
been made, referring to the multiple aspects it contains. As
already described, two aspects of the countertransference may
be differcntiated. For instance, let us take the case of a patient,
emotionally very obstructed towards the analyst. I n his counter-
transference, the analyst experiences this as frustration, obtain-
ing from it his next interpretation of the patient's current trans-
ference object relation. But the patient's 'coldness' could easily
have 'cooled off' the analyst, and in this case, his interpretation
will also be cold, unless he knows how to free himself from the
vicious circle in which the patient's affective blocking (together
with the analyst's own disposition towards blocking) threatens
to confine him. Only in the measure in which the analyst is
'free of repressions' will he be able to supply, with the life of his
own ideas and the warmth of his feelings, that which the patient
had repressed or blocked-off. The two aspects of the counter-
transference I had referred to are, thus, the countertransference
response to the manifest and present transference on the one hand, and
the countertransference response to the latent and potential, and
repressed or blocked-off transference, on the other.
Differentiation has also been made between one part of the
countertransference resulting from the analyst's identification
with the patient's ego and id ('concordant identification'), and
another part resulting from the analyst's identification with the
patient's (internal) objects ('complementary identification') (see
Chapter 6). I t is specially this latter one which implies the
danger of the analyst becoming involved in the vicious circle in
which the impact of the transference sometimes threatens to
enclose him, particularly on arousing the negative counter-
transference. He avoids this by keeping distance from himself,
by keeping the sublimated positive countertransference free and
separated, thanks to the understanding of this whole process
which is developing between the deep transference and counter-
transference, and more than everything, between the transfer-
ence neurosis and the countertransference neurosis. But I have
already referred to this 'double life' the analyst must lead, to
this 'healthy splitting', and to the technical rule (analogous to
the one which reigns for the patient) which indicates to the
analyst to divide his ego into an experiencing, irrational, and
into a rational, observing one.
In this context it must be stressed that the perception of the
countertransference may not only indicate the patient's central
conflict in his transference object relations, but also point out
the reactions of his internal objects, within and without himself,
and especially those of the imago placed onto the analyst,
which the patient then introjects. The fundamental importance
of the introjection of the analyst as good object, 'free from
anxiety and anger' into the ego and superego, has been repeat-
edly emphasized (e.g. by Heimann, 1956, and Strachey, 1934).
But this introjection can only be realized if the analyst always
recognizes, dominates, and utilizes his countertransference again,
in order to understand the transference, overcoming his nega-
tive and sexual countertransference which, as a spontaneous
response to the negative and sexual transference, is inevitable,
inasmuch as the analyst really identifies himself-as in part he
should-with the transferred object.
With the greater attention to the countertransference, a
greater knowledge of the subject's relations to his internal and
external objects has been attained, as well as of the relations of
these objects to the subject; thus the analyst's contact and com-
munication with the patient's internal reality has also been

The evolution of the position of psycho-analysis towards the

countertransference, and the evolution of its understanding,
since it was pointed out by Freud ( I g I o), may be observed in
various aspects. I t was on the basis of the discovery of the
countertransference that Freud advised the training analysis of
future analysts. But at that time Freud ( I g r 2) spoke of doctors
taking up psycho-analysis as 'approximately normal' persons,
and analysis lasted only for some weeks or months. Today it
varies between four and ten years or more, and we know that
even afterwards we are far from being 'approximately normal'.
Correspondingly, and little by little, we cease to stress the
differences between transference and countertransference-
which are nevertheless highly important-and are more dis-
posed to see their analogies and correspondences. Since the trans-
ference has now been studied more thoroughly (because with
less resistance), what we have come to h o w about it may be
useful to us for the study and understanding of the counter-
transference. Let us then consider some of these parallels.
First of all, an interesting parallel exists in the history of these
two scientific topics. For Freud, the transference was first an
annoying interference with his work, then an instrument of
great value, and, finally, the main battlefield of treatment. Simi-
larly, the countertransference was for analysts first an annoying
interference with their work, then it was transformed into an
instrument of great value, and finally it is being seen more and
more as constituting the 'other half' of the main battlefield of
treatment (see Chapter 6).
The basic role played by the positive transference in the
psycho-analytic process, is that it provides the necessary energy
for collaborating with the patient, the energy to see the uncon-
scious and to overcome the resistances. Analogously, the positive
countertransference plays a basic role, providing the necessary
energy by which to see the patient's unconscious (= that of the
analyst himself), and to overcome his own counterresistances.
Just as, through the analytic treatment, the patient's faith in the
analyst shows its origin in love, since the patient only lends his
ear to the analyst while his positive transference is upheld
(Freud, 1917), so too, in the case of the analyst, understanding
shows its origin in love, since the analyst identifies himself with
the patient's id and ego only while his positive countertrans-
ference is upheld.
Just as the negative or sexual transference disturbs the patient's
collaboration, thus the negative or sexual countertransference
also disturbs the analyst's understanding, and for this motive it
needs to be constantly analysed and dissolved. This is evident.
Less manifest but equally important is the converse aspect, that
is to say, that the negative and sexual countertransference may
be the consequence of the analyst's disturbed understanding, for
instance, on the failure of his 'concordant identification' for lack
of integration in himself, i.e. due to counterresistance. Thus, an
analogy with the negative and sexual transference exists, in-
asmuch as it equally arises, in one of its dynamic aspects, from
We have seen, on the other hand, that the transference is also
'the resisted' and returns clue to the 'repetition compulsion', or
in otlier terms, because in each person a dctcrmined internal
constellation exists which contains determined impulses, ob-
jects, anxieties, defences, etc. Every real external object acquires
t l ~ emeaning of one or another part of the ego (and id), or of one
or another of the internal objects, this meaning depending on
the constellatory disposition of the moment and on the external
object's real characteristics. Likewise, the countertransference
is also, in certain aspects, 'the resisted', returning due to the
'rcpetition compulsion', that is to say, because it is the ex-
pression of the analyst's internal constellation, stimulated by
the patient who represents, for the analyst, one or another part
of his ego (and id), or one or another of his objects. According
to some analysts, a 'countertransference neurosis' exists, cor-
responding to the 'transference neurosis' (Chapter 5 ) , (although
with a much lesser intensity). This is due to the fact that identi-
fication with the patient's transferred objects (and to a smaller
degree, with his ego) implies the experiencing of their anxieties
and pathological defences. For instance, a patient's perversely
aggressive behaviour (even towards an 'extra-transference' ob-
ject) arouses, normally I believe, a certain degree of persecutory
anxiety and reactive aggression due to the analyst's idcntifica-
tion with this object. I n this respect we agree with Lessing (the
great German poet and writer of the eighteenth century) who
said: 'He who on certain occasions does not lose his sanity,
shows that he has none to lose.' We admit, thus, that a t times
we lose it, not altogether, but enough to perceive and diagnose
the pathological countertransference process, and so as to uti-
lize this perception later on-after having surmounted its im-
pact-for the analysis of the patient's transference processes.
Thus, just as the negative and sexual transference and the trans-
ference neurosis are not only 'resistance', but bring hack the
most important infantile situations, so too, the negative and
sexual countertransference and the 'countertransference neurosis'
are not only 'counterresistance' but become-inasmuch as they
respond to transference processes-an important instrument for
the understanding of the patient's basic object relations.

I would now like to refer to a specific point, anxiety in the

countertransference, which in it plays a similarly central role as in
the transference and generally in neurosis. As a 'danger signal'
it is a guide for the analyst. I t manifests itself in diverse ways
and degrees, from sensations of tension to violent irruptions of
anxiety, of paranoid or depressive content. Sensations of tension
are frequently the consequence of the perception (by the
analyst) of the patient's resistances, which may be experienced
by the analyst as a danger to his therapeutic intentions. For
instance, the analyst perceives the patient's intense rejection
of his libidinal relation to the analyst (rejection which may be
due to guilt feelings, paranoid anxieties, rivalry, masochism,
sabotage on the part of an internal object, etc.); the analyst
perceives the insistent nullification of his interpretations which
should make the overcoming of this rejection possible, and he
reacts with anxiety which is communicated to his consciousness
in the form of tension. But the perception of the external danger
-of the patient's resistance-is only one of the two factors
the result of which is this countertransference anxiety. The
other one is the analyst's (unconscious)perception of the internal
danger, for instance, the danger of being frustrated by an inter-
nal object of his own, of being the victim of his own masochism,
or of his own counterresistances. Whatever the proportions
between the two factors which cause the 'tension', i.e. between
the subjective and objective factor (between the 'danger' arising
from within the analyst or the patient, or in the last instance,
between the death instinct of one or the other), if the analyst is
conscious of this tension, it may serve him as a first indication
of that part of the patient's ego or internal object which (in the
present example) opposes his libidinal relation to the analyst.
Violent irruptions of countertransference anxiety occur at
times- as I have already mentioned-as a consequence of the
analyst's identification with violently threatened, or attacked,
or with seriously worried or 'guilty' internal objects, or else as
a consequence of his identification with parts of the patient's
ego which are intensely split off and 'projected' on to the
analyst (Grinberg, 1957, and Chapter 6). Frequently, it is the
patient's difficulty of enduring excessive guilt-feelings, which
underlie such intense 'projections' on to the analyst; in this case,
of one part of the ego experienced as being guilty. I t has been
repeatedly observed that in these cases the analyst feels impelled
to return this split-off part as soon as possible. Its cause resides
in that it is difficult for the analyst himself to bear the guilt
placed upon him. But this can show him precisely how difficult
-how much more difficult-it is for the patient (whose ego is
usually weaker than that of the analyst) to accept this part as
pertaining to his ego. The anxiety experienced by the analyst
rhows him again what happens in the patient and from what he
is defending himself; the intensity of this countertransference
a d e t y may indicate something about the dosage of the inter-
pretations referring to this conflict.
I would like to stress that the patient's defence mechanism
just mentioned (the 'projective identification' (Klein et al., 1952)
frequently really obtains its ends-in our case to make the
analyst feel guilty and not only implies (as has been said a t
times) that 'the patient expects the analyst to feel guilty', or that
'the analyst is meant to be sad and depressed'. The analyst's
identification with the object with which the patient identifies
him, is, I repeat, the normal countertransference process. Only
that this identification and the pathological process bound up
with it (in our example, the guilt-feelings and anxiety) should
be sufficiently transitory and of a sufficiently moderate intensity
as not to disturb his work.
This is true for this case as for many others. Just as the patient
already mentioned placed his guilty part on to the analyst, so
patients also place what they feel to be valuable and positive
within themselves on to the analyst, who in this manner becomes
transformed into an idealized object and simultaneously (al-
ready due to the great inherent s~periorityand due to the
aggressive impulses then secondarily projected on to it) into a
persecutor. If this transference situation has first been intensely
rejected by the patient, and then breaks through suddenly, and
the analyst unexpectedly has to experience and admit to con-
sciousness his being this idealized object, it may happen that, in
face of the patient's deep submission, he will react with abrupt
anxiety and guilt. Again this is a natural consequence of his
identification with the object placed upon him. But normally
the analyst does not remain fixated (or 'stuck') to this identifica-
tion, but utilizes it to understand and interpret the processes
of the patient's internal world, in this case, for instance, the
patient's freeing himself from guilt through placing perfection,
wellbeing, and aggression on to the object, to which he has
surrendered so deeply.
Another example of the 'bi-personal processes' with which
we are dealing is presented by the patient who insistently rejects
her father-analyst in order thus to show her own 'oedipal inno-
cence'. In the measure in which the patient achieves keeping
the analyst (oedipal father) 'impotent', she induces her own
negative therapeutic reaction in him. Logically, at first, the
analyst will feel rejected, that is to say, he will identify himself
with the rejected father. If he maintains himself in this identi-
fication he fills the role towads which the patient's oedipal
guilt-feelings and consequent masochism are putting him. I t is
decisive for the treatment, therefore, for the analyst to reject
consciously within himself this identification or role which the
patient, in one part of her personality, wants to impose on him,
and to maintain or revive again and again the identification
with that repressed or split-off image of the father, who loves
his daughter and who wants to make it possible for her to love
her father again, at the same time steadily analysing the anxieties
which keep the patient from attaining this. That first identifica-
tion and experience will help him to understand the patient's
psychological processes which lead her towards failure and
which attempt to induce the father-analyst to fail in the same
I n passing, I would like to mention that at times the analyst
-if his unconscious is well connected with that of the patient-
may perceive her repressed or split-off sexual excitement through
sexual sensations of his own, in a certain way 'induced' by the
I havetpreviously stressed that to place the analyst in certain
psychological situations is in general not only a desire of the
patient, but that, to some degree, it really happens. Even more,
the patient often perceives this fact intuitively, but sometimes
he denies this same intuition. What in such cases seems to me
to be indicated, is, above all, to analyse this denial. For instance,
a patient, whose intense blocking and isolation frustrated and
worried the analyst and aroused his feelings of failure, as-
sociated that the analyst surely did not feel anything, did not
become anxious or annoyed on account of the patient, etc.
Evidently, the patient was denying what he perceived in-
tuitively, that is to say, the fact that the analyst felt himself to
be so effectively 'damaged' in his professional work (towards
which part of the patient's infantile aggressiveness, underlying
his blocking, was directed), that he felt anxiety, annoyance,
etc. The patient denied it because of the guilt-feelings which an
admission of that perception would have aroused, and the denial
was carried out by means of the fantasy that the analyst did not
feel anything, etc. The analysis of this denial is not and should
not be a countertransference 'confession'. Besides, through the
analyst's positive behaviour, his unchanged and affectionate
inte retative activity, the patient will also perceive that his
own'gehaviour concerned only a part of the analyst's personality.

I would like to dcal with a final subject, although I will not

be able to treat it here with the thoroughness its importance
deservcs. I am referring to every acting of the analyst which is
not interpreting. I have already mentioned this subject when
speaking of the analyst's impulse to act according to the role
which the patient, in one (generally unconscious) part of his
personality, desires the analyst to fill. I t is evident that the
analyst should by no means carry out such an impulse when an
anxiety of great or medium intensity impels him to do so, i.e.
when hc would act compulsively. (In such a casc, the analyst
should remain silent until he has recovered his internal balance,
then analyse within himself what has happened, and finally
interpret what concerns the patient.) But the situation is differ-
ent when the inipulse to act does not arise from an anxiety
caused by determined material, but which originates in the
more or less chronic inefficiency of the interpretations. Here,
too, the impulse to act arises, thus, from anxiety (it being a
response to some form of negative therapeutic reaction of the
patient), but generally it deals with a slight but constant
anxiety, with a state of tension in the analyst, and not with the
somewhat sudden irruptions of countertransference anxiety
which certain borderline cases (or situations) originate at times.
I have said that in such cases the situation seems to be different,
for I think that certain ways of acting on the part of the analyst
should not be simply put aside. For instance, patients, particu-
larly ones with strong masochistic tendencies, exist who insist-
ently arouse (and unconsciously seek to arouse) the analyst's.
irony or mockery. The analyst perceives this mechanism through
his countertransference ideas which are of a mocking kind.
Usually, from these occurrences the analyst obtains an under-
standing of the patient's transference situation and interprets it
to him. But in the cases I have alluded to-the 'great' maso-
chists, the cases of 'great' blocking, etc. -the strength of the
interpretation is at times insufficient in face of the patient's
counter-strength. I t is clear that what I have just denominated
'the strength' of the interpretation is something exceedingly
variable (variable from analyst to analyst and from stage to
stage of psycho-analysis), and the causes of the insufficient
'strength' of the interpretation may be manifold, but be it what
it may, the fact exists in itself. When Freud found himself in
face of such situations, he created the rule of abstinence (in the
widest sense of the term). That is to say, the analyst, instead of
interpreting in vain, should transform himself into someone
who demands or prohibits, i.e. who atts. Since that time, psycho-
analytic knowledge has progressed, and in some instances in
which the classical analyst probably demanded or prohibited,
the experienced analyst of today may achieve the same thing,
or more, by interpretation (for instance, by interpreting the
anxieties underlying the acting out that formerly would have
been curbed by the rule of abstinence). What I am referring to
here is a very different acting: it is not demanding or prohibiting,
but a transitory performance of the role induced by ttle patient,
followed by an analysis of what had happened and what had
been enacted. In the first place, we can in this way show the
patient, more vividly, the role he desires the analyst to play,
and why he desires it. But there is something more important in
this. For at times one has the impression that these patients
unconsciously make use of the taboos we impose on ourselves
(for instance, that of doing nothing which is not interpreting)
for their unconscious methods of control and handling of the
object-analyst. On breaking that taboo, the analyst makes an
irruption into these same defensive methods. In other words,
normally, the analysis acts therapeutically precisely because the
analyst does not act, that is to say, because he does not enter
into the patient's vicious circle, but only interprets. But in cer-
tain cases the patient's defensive mechanisms make use pre-
cisely of this fact for their own ends, and at the same time
paralyse the influence of the interpretation. More than patients
who act, they are patients who seek to 'be acted upon', and the
analyst's 'entering' into the part suggested by the patient-if
the acting has been free (or nearly free) from anxiety and fol-
lowed by the interpretation of what was done by both sides-
is at times useful in order to irrupt into this sui generis vicious
circle. In such cases, the analyst's action itself may already act
as a first interpretation, since at bottom it is an interpretation.
I t only takes the form of acting.
However, I believe that such actions on the part of the
analyst constitute a crutch until we are able to walk without
it. But in the meantime it is better to walk with a crutch than
not to walk at all, as happens in certain cases. On the other
hand, given the dangers arising from the temptations of the
countertransference, such experiments are only advisable, I
think, for the analyst who already has ample experience in deal-
ing with the transference and countertransference.
I must close and would like to summarize briefly. I n its
essence and fundamentally, the analytic technique of yesterday
and of today is the same and its aim is the same: that of helping
the patient to know himself. Analysts have progressed in thc
assimilation and application of the truths discovered, as well as
in the discovery of new truths. That different assertions are
made and different 'techniques' are discussed with all the heat
and coldness of the transferences and countertransferences
which are displaycd among analysts, is a normal phenomenon,
however much pathology it may contain. Probably there will
also be a normal development in the futurc, which, I~csides,
usually implies that truth imposes itself. More scrious, I believe,
are the dangers arising from the infiltration into analytic tcch-
nique of what is alien in its cssence, that is to say, alien to the
analyst's function of making conscious the unconscious. I a m
referring to all of that which at times unduly displaces thc tech-
nical instrument par rxcclkncc, the interpretation, as for instance
suggcstion, advice, the analyst's subjective and perhaps ncuro-
tic ideals, his compulsive acting, ctc. But along gencral lincs,
psycho-analysis has defendcd itself well against these dangers,
and can, in its totality, point at an important and highly posi-
tive evolution. \Ve can expect that future progress will pcrmit
the greater integration of man's knowledge and the grcater
efficicllcy of psychc-analytic technique. Perhaps it may even
ol~tninits results in shorter periods of time, with the consequent
fi~llilmcntof thc old hope that an cvcr larger number of human
beings may participate in this knowlcdgc and bcnefit from this
Considerations on the Theory of
T h e following pages contain some considerations on the dyna-
mics of transference and the part it plays in the psycho-analytic
process. I do not claim to say anything essentially new, but
endeavour to clarify the theoretical basis of certain ideas that in
practice arc accepted and utilized by many analysts.
Freud (1912) deals with the problem of the dynamics of
transference from two points of view: first, transference in
general and its causes, and second, transfercnce in psycho-
analytic treatment and the reasons for the special intensity it
there assumes. He gives two causes for transference in gcncral,
(a) the fact that every person acquires in childhood certain
charactcristic ways of 'living his love', from which arise pat-
terns rcgularly rcpeated throughout his lifc, and (b) thc fact
that lack of libidinal satisfaction, caused by unconscious fixa-
tions, crcatcs a libidinal need and expectancy which is directed
towards the pcrsons he meets. The special part playcd by
transference in psycho-analytic trcatrnent is to be explained,
according to Freud, by its relation to resistance. The trans-
ference becomes so intense and long-lasting because it scrves t l ~ c
resistance; the analysand reproduces and acts upon his uncon-
scious impulses in order not to 'remember' them.
Everyday analytic experience corroborates Freud. But onc
may ask whcthcl the rclationship between transfcrcnce and
resistance discovcrcd by Freud is the only one, whcthcr otllel.
factors besides resistance influence analytic transfcrcnce, and
whether analytic transfcrcnce is distinguished from gcneral
transference by characteristics otl~erthan tllc dcgrcc of intensity.
The specific character of analytic procedurc bcgins with thc
'free' association and the fundarncntal rule.* Thesc signify tllc
Reprinted from Psychoanal. Quarl. ( I 954), 23.
'For us here i t is immaterial whether the fundamcntal rule is im-
parted to the analysand or not. It is the basis of treatment; all that dilTcr5
is the way in which the analyst gets the analysand to know thc rule anti
abolition of rejection which, as the overcoming of resistances
and pathological defences, constitutes the essence of analysis. In
consequence, there begin to emerge rejected ideas and cor-
responding rejecting ideas. Experience shows that a part of
these ideas is projected (latently or manifestly) upon the analyst.
At a superficial level either class of idea may be projected;
fundamentally, however, it is always the rejecting ideas that are
projected.' The reason probably is that originally the subject,
the primitive ego, identifies himself with his impulses and then
rejects every interference with gratifying these impulses, every
frustration and prohibition. He deals with all such interfer-
ence by projecting it; therefore he likewise projects his 'reject-
ing ideas' so that those 'internal objects' with which the analy-
sand identifies the rejecting action are transferred onto the
analyst. This transference, then, arises not from the resistance
but from its being partially overcome; it is not rejection of
ideas but the gradual giving up of rejection that here produces
a specially intense transference. This is transference of the
rejecting internal objects- the superego that is projected upon
the analyst-which are the introjected parents, the mother and
father imagos with which the most intense instinctive and
affective ties have since early infancy.' The 'abolition of rejec-
tion' inherent in analysis, which causes the specially intense
transference of the rejecting internal objects, is thus also one of
the causes of the specially intense transference of the first
libidinal objects. The rejecting internal objects, the ones that
frustrate, attack, threaten, forbid, and recriminate, are at the
same time those that are desired, loved, hated and feared.
The 'abolition of rejection' explains, moreover, another
aspect of the dynamics of transference and its special intensity
in analysis. Freud points out the neurotic's need for love as
one of the causes of transference in general, without ascribing
abide by it, that is, to accept in consciousness what he had rejected and
to communicate it, 'communicating' in this way separate parts of his
1 We use the term 'rejecting' in its widest sense, including all forms of
moral, affective, and instinctive rejection, even the primitive kind of
rejection seen when the unconscious experiencesfrustrationas destruction
or persecution.
* The ego evidently also participates in these rejections because of the
identification and other relations with the internal rejecting objects; but
1 think that for our purposa we can ignore thin complexity for the
to this factor any special role in analysis. We have seen, how-
ever, that the very nature of analysis lsads to an especially
intense transference of the rejecting internal objects. These are,
at the same time, the objects that are most needed. Now the
more the analyst becomes a rejecting object, the greater will be
the analysand's need of being accepted and loved by him. The
need for love explains, according to Freud, the transference of
the conscious and unconscious libidinal imagos onto the
analyst. The intensification of the need for love, arising from
the very nature of analysis, also explains, then, the intensifica-
tion of these transferences.
Another specifically analytic factor determines the dynamics
of transference. We have seen that the principles of analysis
lead to an intensification of' the conflictual object relations
which in the infant were external and are now internal. In this
regard, psycho-analysis acts as aggression, attacks existing
states, makes latent schisms manifest, and converts internal
conflicts and separations, in the transference, into external ones.
I n this way analysis produces anxiety, tension, pain, and the
need for love. But there is another side of the psycho-analytic
process: it unites what is separate, connects what is discon-
nected, and is thus essentially an expression of eros. The funda-
mental rule, the tolerance it implies, and, in general, the prin-
ciple of abolition of pathological rejection, i.e. of all irrational
aggression directed against parts of the subject's own ego, is in
itself an expression of Eros. The analyst's continuous empathy
and tolerance, and the interpretations that reduce tension and
anxiety, are all reacted to as manifestations of affection. The
libido mobilized by this affection directs itself in the first place
to the analyst. Not the need for love but the capacity for loving
is what is thus intensified and oriented towards the analyst. This
process is the foundation of therapy. Frustrations and distor-
tions of the past are in some measure rectified, and the repeti-
tion compulsion, one of the basic characteristics of neurosis, is
interrupted or modified in the analysis of the transference. But,
since the archaic imagos continue to exist, this very mobiliza-
tion and intensification of the libido intensifies the archaic
paranoid and depressive anxieties; the analyst seems, for in-
stance, to be a seducer and the analysis a trap. Thus the trans-
ference of the internal, infantile object relations onto the
analyst is intensified. I t is then psycho-analysis itself that also
leads, because it contains Eros, to a greater intensity of the
I n addition to its greater intensity, analytic transference is
also characterized by its greater depth. The analysis of defences
compels the patient to experience situations otherwise avoided.
For instance, the analysand who has the habit of defending
himself by the use of recrimination will become aware little by
little, as a result of interpretations, of the underlying paranoid
mechanisms, the analyst becoming the persecuting superego.
This superego blames the analysand for those things for which
previously he blamed other people, including the analyst him-
self. The new situation proves, in its turn, to be a defence
against a deeper transference, and so on.
The analyst is now the 'rejecting' superego and it is easy to
observe that the 'abolition of rejection' leads to projection of
the 'rejecting internal objects'. But we also know that the
superego helps in the Oedipus fantasy to prevent castration
by the father, or killing or castrating the father. These impulses
arose as a consequence of genital frustrations by the 'rejecting
parents'. Therefore, when the boy is forced to abandon his
oedipal libidinal and aggressive impulses, the rejecting action of
his ego becomes linked with the objects that caused thosc
impulses. Thus the parents, especially the father, become 're-
jecting objects' in this way too. The 'abolition of rejection'
which superficially leads to the intense transference of the
rejecting superego leads fundamentally, therefore, to the intense
transference of the 'rejecting' internal libidinal objects.
Freud made two principal observations on the part played by
transference in analysis. ( I ) Sublimated positive transference is
the most important motivating force in overcoming resistance.
Transference when it becomes negative or sexual turns into a
resistance wliich must be analyscd and dissolved if the work
is to continue. While transference becomes, as resistance, the
greatest danger to the treatment, it constitutes at the same time
In this way the transference neurosis affords an excellent approach
to the study of psychopathological stratification.
Macalpine ( 1 950) mentions a series of factors which in analytic treat-
ment create an 'infantile setting' and so induce regression and the
establishment of the transference. I quite agree with her that such factors
as lying on the couch and the analytic 'discipline' are influential in the
development of transference, but I nevertheless considcr transference
to be an essentially 'spontaneous' process. Its intensity and depth in
analytic treatment are in the main to be explained by the very nature
of analysis, the resistances and their abolition.
its most important instrument; for only by reliving the infantile
neurosis in the transference can the analysand remember the
repressed experiences of childhood. (2) Freud says in the
~ntroductoryLectures ( I g I 7) : 'A person who has become normal
and free from the operation of repressed instinctual impulses in
his relation to the doctor will remain so in his own life after the
doctor has once more withdrawn from it.' The part played by
transfercnce is the reliving of childhood under better conditions;
what was formerly pathologically rejected is now able to find
admission into consciousness. This is possible because of thc
greater strength of the adult ego and the understanding and ob-
jective behaviour of the analyst.
These two observations of Freud both emphasize that thc
basic function of analytic treatment is to make thc unconscious
conscious or to overcome rcsistances. But they differ principally
in this, that in the first, the repressed, the rejected past, bccomcs
conscious as something belonging to the past, whereas in thc
second, the repressed emerges as belonging to thc present, to the
relationship with the analyst. The practical conscqucnce of this
difference lies in the fact that in the former view the transfcr-
cnce (negative and sexual) is regarded and interpreted as a
resistance to the work of remembrance, and is utilized as an
instrument for remembering, but in the latter the transference
is itself regarded as the decisive field in which the work is to be
accomplished. T h e primary aim is, in the first case, remember-
ing; in the second, it is re-experiencing. Psychoanalysts have
inclined towards one or the other of the two points of view,
without first making clear the divergence between them.'
The two points of view may also be said to differ in that in
the former transference is regarded predominantly as arising
from resistance, whereas in the latter resistance is mainly a
Thus, for example, Richard Sterba (1929) follows the first point of
view; Ferenczi and Rank (1925) emphasize the second one but finally
accept remembering as the decisive factor; Wilhelm Reich ( I933) and
James Strachey (1934)seek to unite the t ~ points
o ofview. Freud (1920)
himself seems to stress the first; he advocates (even in papers subsequent
to the exposition of the above-mentioned ideas) limiting repetition in
the transference and encouraging remembering. He modifies his position
somewhat, however, admitting that remembering the past or recovering
it in dreams causes less pain than reliving it as a new experience. This
admission, in my opinion, casts doubt on his previous statement that the
analysand prefers repeating to remembering, and seems to ascribe
greater importance in the dynamics of transference to the repetition
compulsion at the expense of the pleasure principle.
product of transference. I n the first, the analysand repeats so
as not to remember; in the second, he repeats defences (resis-
tances) so as not to repeat traumatic or anxious experiences.
Experience fully confirms that both 'negative transference'
and 'sexual transference', as described by Freud, appear or
increase as products of the resistance. But it is doubtful whether
they are primarily to be understood as resistances to remem-
bering or to the return in the transference of even more arlxious
or painful childhood situations. Experience suggests that the
latter occurrence is far more frequent. Rejection of the analyst
or falling in love with him frequently arises or becomes inten-
sified in the face of imminent paranoid or depressive situations
in the transference. But empirical findings cannot settle such a
question; personal preference might cause one to interpret the
situations one way or the other. Perhaps Freud viewed these
situations most often as resistance to remembering because, in
accordance with the conceptions he held at that time, he was
seeking the recovery of memories and the transference opposed
this search.
On this doubt some light is thrown, I think, by what we have
seen about the dynamics of transference. Analysis stirs up and
overcomes resistances; the transference consequently becomes
intense and deep, anxiety-producing and painful. When rejec-
tion is abolished, the ego is threatened with the return of what
had been rejected. Hence it follows that the resistances were
to prevent precisely this, i.e. the re-experiencing of unbearable
object relations in transference. If, in particular, the overcom-
ing of the 'transference resistance' leads to traumatic or anxious
experiences in transference, then these latter must be what the
former aimed to reject. This repetition of latent object relations
must therefore be the first great task of therapy. Attention
should mainly be focused on the transference as the field in
which the old experiences are to be rectified, and on the resis-
tance to emergence of those experiences. In this sense, the
factors which we consider to determine the dynamics of trans-
ference also explain why that repetition is what is most rejected;
hence the accomplishment of these re-experiences and the
change of their destiny is the path indicated.
This exposition poses a series of problems, two of which I deal
with briefly.
The apparent contradiction in the statements that the trans-
ference becomes intensified by resistance and also by overcom-
ing resistance is resolved by the fact that defensive transferences
are intensified by resistance (i.e. as the analysis becomes dan-
gerous) and the rejected transferences are intensified by the
overcoming of the resistances. What Freud denotes as 'negative'
and 'sexual' transferences are defences that are intensified by
resistance; paranoid and depressive states are frequently re-
jected situations that are intensified by the successive overcom-
ing of resistances. An example cited by Freud (1915) illustrates
this point:
There is, it is true, one class of women with whom this attempt
to preserve the erotic transference for the purposes of analytic work
without satisfying it will not succeed. These are women ofelemental
passionateness who tolerate no surrogates. They are children of
nature who refuse to accept the psychical in place of the material,
who, in the poet's words, are accessible only to 'the logic of soup,
with dumplings for arguments'. With such people one has the
choice between returning their love or else bringing down upon
oneself the full enmity of a woman scorned. In neither case can
one safeguard the interests of the treatment. One has to withdraw,
unsuccessful; and all one can do is to turn the problem over in
one's mind of how it is that a capacity for neurosis is joined with
such an intractable need for love.
But we are not dealing, in my opinion, with 'children of nature',
nor (or at least not only) with 'elemental passionatencss', but
with neurotic passion of a n erotomanic type. Behind this lie
paranoid and depressive situations which have been transferred
because of the breakdown of the resistances.'
Another problem that here presents itself refers to the part
played in analysis by remembering, the making conscious of
the repressed past. For is it then the case, one may ask, that
everything rejected is, in the analysis, part of the transference
situation? Will not also merely internal situations, 'states of
consciousness' be rejected, without the analyst's playing any
part in this? Every situation is actually 'internal', including
the transfercnce situation. T h e question is only whether a n
analysand refuses to remember, for instance, that he wished to
kill his father because his paternal superego condemns and
persecutes him for this or because the analyst already latently
It seems to me that these and other words of Freud testify that at the
time he developed and established these concepts, he saw 'transference
resistance' rather as a resistance to remembering than as a resistance to
re-experiencing trauma and anxiety in transference, and did not regard
these two resistances as one and the same thing.
represents the father and will condemn and persecute him. The
answer is that both things are true. The 'past' is not felt as
such but as present and the danger, therefore, is also felt as
something present. Insofar as the past may be felt as something
past, remembering it is, broadly speaking, a resistance to the
present. But if the past is felt as something present, the past and
present images fuse into one: to the unconscious, the analyst is
the father and the father is the analyst.
Making something conscious always involves a change in the
relationship with an internal object and a change in the rela-
tionship with the analyst too, for transference, in essence, is
nothing but a manifestation of the relationships with internal
objects. When the analysand makes his infantile Oedipus com-
plex conscious, it is the father who is sitting behind him and
threatening him with castration. Hence in 'remembering' too
the resistance is directed against the re-experience of a dan-
gerous object relationship.
Analysis of Transference through
the Patient's Relations with
the Interpretation1
Since Freud, the study of transference has been one of the most
important sources of knowledge regarding the child's psycho-
logical processes. As the interpretation is the main expression of
the analyst, the patient's relation to it becomes the prepon-
derant field in that study. Moreover, the degree in which the
interpretation can be acceptedand as similated depends on this
relation. The analysis of the patient's relation to the interpreta-
tion hence acquires a threefold interest: it is a study of infancy,
it is a working-through of the transference, and it is an indis-
pensable therapeutic (technical) requisite.
After Freud (1912, 1917) several analysts have devoted
special attcntion to this subject, to mention W. Reich (1933)~
K. Horney (1936)~and M. Klein (1932) among others. I n the
Argentine, Alvarez de Toledo ( 1 955)' Gonzalez (1956)~G.
Racker (1957~)'and others have dealt with different aspects of
this wide topic. The present paper will refer, on the one hand,
to infantile situations already known, exemplifying them
through the patient's relations to the interpretation. In this
regard, its aim is to contribute towards a closer contact be-
tween our theoretical knowledge and analytic practice. O n the
other hand, we shall meet with some rather obscure points and
shall attempt to contribute to their clarification. Furthermore,
through the material to be presented, I shall try to confirm the
succession of certain situations of pain, anxiety, and defence,
and their dynamic interrelation, as set forth in my paper (1957)
on 'Stratification'.

The return of the child's relation to the breast in the patient's

attitude towards the analyst's interpretative capacity and
1 Enlarged version of paper read to the 1957 Symposium of the
Argentine Psychoanalytic Association on Psycho-analysis of Children.
activity, have been pointed out by Klein, especially in her
latest book on Enzy and Gratitude (1957).But the relations to the
breast, as described by her in previous writings (1932,1950)~
may also be observed plainly in the patient's attitudes towards
the interpretation. The same holds for the child's relations to
the mother's womb and for the early and succeeding stages of
the Oedipus complex.
In the first place, I will present some fragments from a
clinical case. The patient is a man 40 years of age, married, who
came to analysis because of his fluctuations between depressive
and hypomanic states. At a certain period of his analysis, he was
found to be extremely impervious to the interpretations. He
only half listened to them, if a t all, meanwhile thinking ofother
things; or he rejected them as erroneous, seeking out and
attacking any debatable point in them. The analyst was never
right. H e declared that the interpretations were of no use to
him, or made fun of them, considering that they were an
expression of the analyst's insanity.
During this period, food played an important part in his
associations. EIe frequently remarked that he had no appetite.
h.lorco\~cr,his house was so far away that he could not return
homc for lunch, and the restaurants were all bad or dirty.
Neithcr did he feel like reading, not even newspapers, for
'insipid pap' is all they had to offer. H e did not want to eat at
his sister-in-law's, because he felt she wanted to dominate him
through thc fact of his eating there. H e remonstrated with his
mother-in-law for trying to entice his children with sweets. He
rcrnembered how his own mother used to keep the jam for
hcrsclf. He felt guilty for having eaten turtle soup, when he had
not bought his son the tortoise promiscd to him. He drank fine
wines, but was afraid of what they would charge him. H e
talked of a man who lived off the dead, earning his bread
through his business with legacies.
All these associations also referred to his relation with the
analyst. The food was the interpretations which thus repre-
sented the bad or dirty breast, the dominating breast, the
enticing one, the miscrly or dead one, or else the good breast
he was taking away from another. I t was evident too that the
interpretation-breast was the more bad and feared, the more
the analysand had previously attacked the interpretations.
Othcr associations also showed for what reason and by what
unco~~scious means he had attacked the breast. The patient
perceived that if things went badly with him, he did not wish
any better luck for the analyst. He expressed the same envy even
more clearly in speaking of how interesting a psycho-analyst's
job must be in comparison with his own; but he consoled him-
self with the thought that 'the analyst has to wipe his patient's
behinds'. That is to say, that one of the patient's techniques for
calming his envy was to attack the analyst with his excre-
ments. Hence the breast-food-interpretation is later felt to be
dirty, bad, dangerous, or dead.
Besides envy, several other motives existed for his conflicts
with the breast. The mother-analyst, keeping the jam for her-
self, pointed to the frustrating breast-interpretative ability, and,
furthermore, to his own greed and avarice. The guilt-feeling at
having eaten the turtle at his son's expense, indicated the pain
at having damaged his loved 0;-Jects, and in the last instance,
at perceiving his oral greed towards his mother-analyst. This
guilt-feeling will later increase his fear lest another should take
away what is his, a fear contained especially in his intense
According to Klein, the same feelings of frustration, envy,
greed, and jealousy, are afterwards felt with respect to the
mother's womb and its contents, which are then likewise attacked.
I n this case, the attacks with excrement predominated once
again. For instance, the patient avoided touching the door of
the lift in the analyst's house, finding it dirty. He associated
with a man (whom he knew to have been in analysis) who,
when shaking hands, used to hold out one finger which was
wrapped in toilet-paper. He felt uncomfortable on seeing some
flies in the consulting-room, saying that they were dirty and
might bite him.
The house represented the mother-analyst at whose entrance
(the lift-door) the patient had defaecated, and with whom he
feared any further contact. The flies were the children-inter-
pretations which he had attacked in the same way during the
previous session, thereafter feeling persecuted by them. Hence he
distrusted the interpretations and closed himself up agains t them.
In the situations described above, the analyst is felt at bot-
tom to be or to possess the breast or womb, rich in contents,
powers, and pleasures; he was 'on top', whereas the patient
felt himself to be the child, poor in capacities and satisfactions
attacking (out of frustration, envy, etc.) 'from below upwards'.
At other moments, it was the patient who felt rich and 'on top',
and attacked from 'above downwards'. With relish and in
detail he describes the savoury dishes that had been served to
him a t the many parties he had lately been to, expecting to
make the analyst's mouth water. H e spoke scornfully of the
smell of onions apparently coming from the analyst's kitchen,
and the while praising the cooking in his own house. He was
the one who was or had the good breast, and not the analyst.
Analogously, he knew everything better than the analyst, was
right on every point, and made fun of the latter's lack of some
item of common knowledge. That the analyst might know
something better, or that an interpretation might be correct,
was unconsciously felt to be a grave danger. H e associated a
great deal about people who gave themselves airs, or showed
off in any way, and felt unconsciously persecuted by them, but
he finally admitted to the same tendency in himself. Any
transference interpretation was rejected with particular vio-
lence, due to his fear that the analyst might wish to impose
upon him or acquire special importance for him. Analysis of
this persecutory fear led the patient to remember how in
adolescence he had ,had the idea that through him Creation
had wished to achieve something special.
His attacks, both 'from below upwards' and 'from above
downwards', usually lead to the aforementioned paranoid
fears, while at other times, depressive worries and guilt-feelings
made their appearance. The patient was afraid of having ill-
treated the analyst and his interpretations, and apologized or
tried to make good by conceding one or two of the analyst's
statements. This depressive anxiety appeared in its deep con-
tent too, for instance, as horror at the idea of soiling the analyst
by shaking hands, after having that night touched his semen
(milk-faeces). Ideas of justice and punishment, for example
because of his greed, can also be seen in his refusal to accept
interpretations. This rejection is associated with the memory
of how, as a child, he had not wanted to go on eating butter
when he heard there were people who had to go without it.
So far we may observe the following succession, dynamics,
and stratification of situations: at bottom, the patient is tied to
an object (breast, mother) to which he ascribed the greatest
richness and importance. This situation is felt as an intense
persecution, since according to the degree in which the patient
admitted this relation, he himself felt poor, subjugated, and
even destroyed. T o this ideal object, he thus ascribed intentions
of a humiliating, mocking, sadistic, and destructive nature.
The origin of such persecutory experiences are generally found
in the projection of one's own sadism. Nevertheless, the basic
paranoid situation had its origin in the actual lack, brought
about by libidinal frustration, or also by the absence or dif-
ference of powers. I shall return to this later.
The patient reacted to his ideal-persecutor in two ways:
firstly, by attacking it 'from below' and thus annulling the
object's power; and secondly-as is shown by the examples in
which the patient is the rich one-by identifying himself with
the ideal-persecutor and hence inverting the basic situation;
his own persecuted, attacked, and despised part is placed in the
object, thc analyst. I have elsewhere proposed (1957) desig-
nating this identification with the ideal-persecutor, as the
yrimary manic situation', for I regard it as the basic and central
manic mechanism, since it entails and explains-through the
very identification with the ideal-persecutor- the experience
of liberation from persecution, of triumph, of omnipotence, the
fusion between the ego and the 'ego-ideal' (Freud), the control
and depreciation of objects, the hyperactivity and the denial
of internal and external reality. I have suggested naming the
underlying denied situation as the 'primary paranoid sitwtion', so
as to distinguish it from the persecution appearin as a con-
sequence of the attacks from below upwards and rom above
downwards, which might be called the 'sccontlary Paranoid
situation' (see, for example, the persecutory flies as the result
of attacks perpetrated against the ideal-persecutor, the rich
mother-analyst, attacked in her womb-head and its contents,
the children-interpretations). In addition, we have seen another
consequence of these same attacks: the worry and guilt about
the damaged object, i.e. a depressive situation for which I have
proposed the name 'secondary depressive situation'. For I think
that the child is only capable of worry and pining about a
damaged object, insofar as he has himself experienced damage
and pain; only in this way can he project them onto the loved
object and identify himselfwith the latter, that is to say, feel the
pain and worry over the harm inflicted. I t is beneath the pri-
mary paranoid situation (in which the ego is endangered), that
another situation exists in which the ego experiences suffering,
and where the child does not feel fear but cries and grieves over
the damage which the loved ego suffered. This would be the
'primary depressive situation'.
The psychosexual stage in boys following the relation to the
breast is, according to Klein (1g32), the feminine phase. I should
now like to show the return of one of the col~flictsof this phase
in our patient's relation with the analyst's activities, with his
seeing, understanding, and interpreting, these representing the
father's genital potency. The material I shall draw upon
plainly expresses aspects of later evolutionary stages, but
already being acquainted with the patient's relation to the
breast, the oral background, entailing the equation penis =
breast and herewith the 'feminine phase', will show through.
The patient relates the following dream:
'I'm lying on a couch. Ana-my secretary- comes in and I
look through her skirt and see that she isn't wearing any panties.
I have a feeling of triumph because it's she who's sexually inter-
ested in me, because it's she who is running after me.'
Ana, he explains, is a Viennese girl, employed in the office of
which he is chief. H e talks about her with a certain contempt.
During the last session, the patient had shown great reluc-
tance to talk about his sexual life. As a rule, his greatest resis-
tance referred to communicating anything about his wife's
sexual behaviour. The analysis of this resistance showed that if
the patient were to talk about the details of his sexual relations
this would be felt as the analyst's mocking triumph, thus im-
plying that the patient attributed sadistic desires to the analyst,
desires to scoff and triumph over him.
The basic situation underlying the dream, was the fear of
becoming the victim of these sadistic tendencies in the analyst.
The dream also shows that these impulses were placed in the
analyst's penis, for it was against this danger that the patient
defended himself with the inversion of the basic situation, i.e.
identifying himself with the triumphant analyst and thus look-
ing-through the skirt-at the Viennese analyst's sexual life,
in whom he placed his own feminine part.
I n other words, basically, the patient felt attracted towards
the father-analyst's penis; but it is a sadistic penis, for by means
of this attraction, the analyst wished to scoff and triumph over
the patient. Hence the situation became persecutory. I n the
manifest dream, we once again see the defence through the
identification with the ideal-persecutor and through the pro-
jection of the patient's own feminine, attacked, and humiliated
part, into the analyst. Again it is a 'primary manic situation'.
The fact that his greatest resistance concerned telling about his
wife's sexual behaviour, meant that the greatest danger was
that of being seen in his feminine part (that the analyst should
look through his skirt), and being seen amounted to being
scoffed at. The dream showed that to be scoffed at was to be
subjugated by a sadistic penis. The rejection of the analysis-
the resistances against communicating certain associations or
accepting interpretations, etc.-sprang then from the fact
that being seen, understood, and interpreted, was equated to
transforming the danger of becoming the victim of a sadistic
penis into catastrophic reality.
Fundamentally, within this level, both the father's penis and
the analyst's comprehension and interpretation were as the
dream shows, something very attractive, very valuable, and very
much admired. What had transformed the penis (like the breast)
into something destructive and persecuting was, in the first
place, frustration. This followed from the fact that, in the ana-
lytic situation, every frustration of a desire expressed by the
patient was felt to be an attack against himself and turned the
analyst into a sadist. As I have set forth in the above-mentioned
paper (1g57), this originates not only in the projection of the
subject's own sadism, but also, and fundamentally, in the pro-
cess inherent in frustration itself, which includes the projection
of the aggression (pain) subjectively suffered (that is to say, the
projection of the primary masochism onto the objects, accord-
ing to the degree in which external circumstances have acted
upon it.) In part, this process transforms the bond with the
libidinal object into a 'primary paranoid situation', as it
entails the constant danger of being frustrated, i.e. attacked.
Something similar to what happens to the object relation due
to frustration, also happens through envy. Klein (1957) has
shown how envy transforms the good object into a bad one,
since out of envy the subject is led to attack it in many ways.
Observation shows, moreover, that this envious attack is pre-
ceded by a painful and anxious experience, and it is this pain
and anxiety owing to the lack of something possessed by
another which causes the hatred against the object. I t is, to my
mind, this very pain and anxiety which straight away trans-
forms the object-imago into a persecutor, even before it be-
comes a persecutor due to having been enviously attacked.
The same holds for greed and jealousy, which also begin with
pain and anxiety which the ego attempts to reject by deflecting
the destructive impulse outwards. For this pain and anxiety is
experienced by the ego when exposed to an increased action of
Thanatos (the self-destructive drives), which the ego then
discharges, as a defence, against the object that aroused the
envy, greed, or jealousy. Before envying somebody, we have
placed in him a greater or lesser part of our Eros or libido, for
what we envy is always something we appreciate. And this
placing of libido within the object, is what in certain circum-
stances impoverishes the ego and lays it open to greater influ-
ence from Thanatos, which finds expression in pain and anxiety,
in the feeling of depletion, worthlessness and destruction of the
ego. Thus the idealized object is unconsciously felt at being
highly destructive and persecutory.
T o give an example: A patient who greatly admired his
analyst-and, in particular, his gift of understanding-told
him he felt that, through his admiration, he was discharging
himself like an electric battery. 'And what I most envy you,' he
added, 'is this very affection and admiration I feel for you.'
An analyst was told by one of his (female) students in train-
ing that, while listening to his last interpretation, she had been
'dying of envy' of his capacity to understand. Before feeling this
envy, she had listened to the interpretation with pleasure, and,
at bottom, it was this ability to give pleasure that she felt so
envious of. But before envying him, she had admired him, and,
fundamentally, it was this admiration, with its inherent placing
of a great quantity of libido within the object, that made her
'die', as soon as the desire to be this object, i.e. rivalry, com-
parison, and the painful experience of the object's superiority
came to the fore.
T o sum up: a frustrating libidinal object is experienced as a
persecutor (who empties out, robs, etc.), because libido has
been placed in it, without the object's counterbalancing the
expenditure of libido by the libidinal satisfaction which would
return what has been spent (cf. the 'Herzensdieb' or the 'lady
killer'). The placing of libido in an object without receiving the
desired gratification, impoverishes the ego in libido, and simul-
taneously exposes it, in a higher degree, to the action of the
self-destructive impulses.
Envy is based on a similar experience of lack. O n the other
hand, envy may be bound up with gratifying experiences, as
Klein (1957) has pointed out; in these cases, one envies the
object's capacity to give such satisfactions, this capacity being
what one lacks. Just as with the frustrating object, so the envied
gratifying object is first charged with libido (e.g. admiration),
and the ego is again exposed to a greater action of the self-
destructive impulses (and it likewise feels this as pain and
anxiety preceding the envious hatred). I n the case where the
object gratifies the subject, the experience of lack is due to the
fact that, besides the desire to receive gratifications, a desire
exists to be able to give them such pleasures, and thereby to be
admired or loved, while the subject perceives that he does not
possess the same power. In other words, in such cases, the lack
is produced by the appearance of rivalry, and therewith of
comparison and the painful and anxious experience of the
difference between the subject and the object.
To return to the case under consideration, it was, in the last
instance, the intense placing of libido in the father's penis (as
previously in the breast), with the inherent frustrations and
comparisons and the inherent impoverishment of the ego, that
converted this libidinal relation into a 'primary paranoid
situation'. The ideal-persecutor penis was represented, in the
analytic situation, by the analyst's superiority in understanding.
The patient reacted by attacking the interpretation-penis, out-
side and inside himself, or else he sought defence by means of
an identification with the ideal-persecutor. He knew everything
better and the interpretations could only be impotent. Both
the direct aggressive reactions and the identification with the
ideal-persecutor (the 'primary mania') originated 'secondary'
depressive and paranoid situations. The latter predominated,
expressing themselves, for instance, in an increased fear lest the
analyst should wish to impose on him, triumph over him, and
destroy him, or in the fear that the analyst might impart errors
to him or drive him mad with his own insanity. We have seen
how understanding and reason represented genital potency.
Having destroyed the analyst's reason-penis, the patient feared
I should now like to set forth some examples which illustrate
the return of the Oedipus complex in the patient's relation to
the interpretation. Various aspects of this situation have been
described by the writers already mentioned. I shall refer then
to some aspects that, although familiar, have been but little, if
at all, examined as regards their expression in the patient's
relation to the interpretation. These situations are, however, of
cardinal importance since the outcome of the treatment-the
wished-for change in the patient-depends upon their adequate
I shall start with a summarized account of the first part of an
analytic session with another patient. His main symptom was a
serious affective disconnexion from all objects, which also found
expression in an intense inhibition regarding the studies he was
currently pursuing. Likewise, his progress in analysis was very
slow. His relation to my interpretations was characterized for a
long time by the absence of any emotional response, and fur-
thermore, by the fact that he frequently did not listen to them.,
or he forgot them at once. I t was only later, after several aspects
of this behaviour had been analysed, that he retained some
interpretations and even remembered thcm in subsequent
For the session which I discuss here, he arrived ten minutes
late. This had previously been a habit with him, but during
this period he had been arriving punctually.) At first he kept
silent for a while. Then he spoke of having the thought that in
this session it would be the analyst who began to talk, telling
him that he was putting a stop to the analysis; he added that he
had to choose his words carefully, so as not to say that the
analyst would throw him out. (During the previous session, he
had told me that his studies were going badly, and that the
professor had drawn his attention to the fact that he had not
opened his mouth all year. He feared they would not let him
continue studying.) I interpreted that my supposed anger must
be his own anxiety and annoyance over that part of his per-
sonality that opposed me, did not care about me, or, in his own
words, that had hostile feelings towards me, and expressed
itself in his disconnexion and in his being unable to learn from
me. The part of his ego which felt anxiety and anger with the
other part and wished to 'throw him out of here', was the part
which had affectionate feelings towards me and wanted to free
me from the other part. The patient responded affirmatively
to this interpretation and related the following dream he had
had the night before.
'I enter, with my mother, a room where my father is. I am
embracing my mother. My father is looking severe, as if he were
angry, at my mother, because she has arrived late. 1 want to pro-
tect her with my embrace.'
The patient added at once that he never embraced his mother
and certainly not in such a frank way as happened in the dream;
neither did he believe that he ever embraced her in this way as
a child.
I have used this dream also in Chapter 2, illustrating other aspects.
If we regard the foregoing material as associations belonging
to the same conflict expressed in the dream, the latter may now
be interpreted. The dream concerns the affective relation to the
analyst, represented by the father. The patient felt the mother
as being within him, and felt that he was embracing her. I t is
his feminine part-in his fantasy, his mother-which he was
actually embracing, holding away from me, thus delaying the
meeting, the union with me. The psychological reality is that
he, as a jealous and envious male, does not allow the mother
within him to unite with me, and hence I appear angry. The
patient formed inside himself the mother-son couple (his
feminine love is directed onto himself as a male), and he did not
let the mother love the father-analyst.
We are first of all confronted with the problem of where the
patient's experience of carrying the mother inside him, while
embracing her, comes from.' A series of associations about the
primal scene and thc persistence of the fantasies about the
analyst as father (and the simultaneous rejection of the mater-
nal transference) point to the following origin. His own femi-
nine feelings (in particular his fcelings of love and admiration
for the father and his libidinal desire towards him) had ori-
ginally been projected onto the mother, which brought about
the imago of a mother who loves, admires and desires the
father. I n front of this situation in which the child had felt
deprived of maternal affection and was jealous and envious of
the father, he withdrew from the latter his positive (fcminine)
feelings and directed thcm towards himself. The equation 'I
am the mother' (which has basically sprung from the uncon-
scious perception that what he imagined about the mother was
really his own feelings), was subsequently reinforced by a re-
introjection of the mother-imago, when -due to his anxiety
at being unable to control thc real external mother's feelings
towards the father, and, in the last analysis, due to his anxiety
at being unable to prcvcnt the sexual union of the parents-he
took refuge in the defensive fantasy 'I am the mother (and she
is not)'.
Thus 'he was internally able to control the maternal feelings,
by keeping her in his embrace and preventing or 'delaying' her
affective and libidinal meeting with the analyst-father. I n this
In view of the reality of the patient's conduct, I feel tempted to sub-
stitute the word 'fact' for the word 'experience'. For, .psychologically
considered, the introjection that led him to his present situation was not
a fantasy but a reality. (See further on.)
way, the 'I am the mother (and she is not)' was also equivalent
to 'I have the mother (and he, my father, has not)'. Hence the
affective disconnexion in regard to the father-analyst and in
regard to his interpretations (study), and hence the fear of the
fathcr-analyst's anger at his 'tardy' feminine part.
The patient was indeed late for the session. In the dream he
anticipated it ('prophetically') with the presentiment of his
delay, which was basically due to his desire to keep the mothcr
(within him) separated from the fathcr (to prevent their union),
to defend himself against the primal scene between the mothcr
within him and the father-analyst, which was secondarily duc
to his fear of the father's anger at his oedipal bchaviour,
already evinced in his rejection of his studies and his closing up
against the interpretations.'
We are thus faced with the following psychological situation.
At bottom the analyst is the united couple which represents
everything desirable, every pleasure, every kind of power and
wealth to which the patient at first directs his admiration, love,
and desire, and therefore-as they, and not himself, are the
ones who have it-all his envy, jealousy, greed, rivalry, and
hatred too. The painful experience of lack underlying the
hostile feelings contained in the envy, jealousy, etc., transforms
the united couple (as shown by the analysis of jealousy in
general) into persecutors (e.g. into 'murderers').
Faced with this persecutory situation, basic within the
oedipal level (or faced with this 'primary paranoid situation'
for it springs from thc lack itself), the patient defended him-
self-as shown in the material presented-by means of the
introjcction of one of the two persecutors, the mother. But as
he is now the one who embraces the mother-while the father
is the excluded third party-we understand that the patient
has also identified himself with the father whose place he now
The same situation also influenced other aspects of his behaviour in
the analysis, as, for example, his manner of giving associative material.
However, the different aspects of a patient's conduct in the analytic
situation are frequently determined by dzfirent aspects of his psycho-
logical complexes. Another patient, for example, used to offer material
generously, but kept himself hermetically closed against the interpreta-
tions. One of the causes of this conduct lay in the fact that speaking
represented the (accepted) masculine attitude while listening reprc-
sented the: (rejected) feminine one. It is plain that in the analytic situa-
tion (just as Freud said of coitus) we are always -on the oedipal level -
not two but four people.
occupies, while he puts the father in the place he formerly
occupied himself. The patient is now mother and father, he
is the united couple. Thus, once again we find the identijcation
with the ideal-persecutor-only that here it is composed of two
imagos: the united parents-and so once more we have the
'fusion of the ego with the ego ideal' (Freud), the denial of
inner and outer reality ('I am the mother, and the father, and
tiley are not') the control over the couple whose union lle
magically prevents by himself being and embracing the mother,
the triumph over the persecutors (espccially over the fat her),
that is to say, once again we have before us tlic cntral mnnic
mechanism. The oedipal fantasy, properly speaking, the urlion
of the boy with the mother, as it is basically carried througll in
the masturbatory fantasies, appears then (within the oedipal
level) as the 'prirnary manic situation'. As a consequence of
this (accomplished through his conduct in the analytic situation)
guilt-feelings and persecutory anxieties then appcar (tlic angry
father who is going to throw hini out), i.c. the 'se(.orrdary dekres-
sive and paranoid situations' appcar. In this situation we then
observe the return of what was rejected, the partial return of
what the patient liad wished to avoid by means of the manic
mechanism, in identifying himself with the mother. He carried
out this identification in order to avoid the 'primary' perse-
cution by the united couple (springing fiqorn the lack, and cquiv-
alent to the danger of' being castrated), and in order to avoid
the hatred and direct attack against the couple and to avoid
the subsequent guilt and retaliatory persecution.
This whole succession of situations of pain, anxiety, ancl
defence on tile oedipal level, found exprcssioti in the patient's
relation to thc interpretations, resulting in his not listcning to
them, his forgetting them, etc. This afi'cctive closing up is, at
bottom, his oedipal embrace wit11 the mother (and the latter's
coming late to meet the Fitller). In this way then, tlie patient
perpctratcs the ocdipnl crime in the transfercncc, defending
Iiimsclf, at the same time, against the primal scene to which he
would be exposcd if hc admitted that the mother within him
(his feminine feelings) wcre to unite libidi~lallywith the analyst,
with his interpretations, the latter being the expression of the
father-analyst's (sexual) potency.
I11 every casc, whether male or female, I have found the same
succession of situatio~lsand mechanisms in the patient's rela-
tion to the interpretations on the oedipal level. I will briefly
cite two more examples.
A male patient whose main transference symptom was like-
wise an intense affective blocking, also expressed in his closing
himself up against the interpretations, one day brought the
following dream:
The patient entered a large library and there he saw his wife.
Behind her was a man who had his arms around her and was
holding her by the breasts. The patient felt intensely jealous.

The library represented the analytic consulting-room; the great

number of books symbolized the analyst's supposed great
knowledge. The patient's wife represents (in one of her aspects)
his feminine part; the man behind her represents the analyst (or,
more precisely, he represents the patient's own masculine part,
projected onto the analyst). The patient then felt intensely
jealous in face of this analytic situation in which his fcminine
part was united with the analyst, and it was this jealousy that
attempted and managed to prevent the union, and in parti-
cular to prevent his feminine and positive surrender to the
analyst's interpretative (genital) potency. The mechanism by
which the patient managed to defcnd himself against this
primal scene was the same as in the previous case, the patient
assuming the roles of both parental figures- the couple-and
placing the analyst (by excluding him from his feeling and
thinking) in the situation of the excluded third party ('primary
manic mechanism'). (Freely adapting Louis XIV's famous
saying, this manic situation may be formulated in the words: 'le
couplc c'est moi'.) I t was the latent guilt-feeling due to this
'manic' behaviour in the transference (the main subject of the
previous session), which impelled the patient to imagine a n
attitude of surrender in the manifest drcam; in its turn, this
caused his jealous anxiety, thus explaining his need and mode
of defence.e
I have already mentioned this dream from another angle in Chapter 2.
a The main problem in all patients (in reality, in all human beings)
consists in their instinctive and aflective object relations. In the trans-
ference (and especially in the relation to the interpretation) the dis-
turbance of the object relation is expressed with great frequency in what,
roughly speaking, we call 'affective blocking'. Hence one cannot greatly
wonder if all the cases I mention here suffer in one way or another from
an affective 'closing up' or 'blocking'. In reality, these disturbances show
important differences from one case to another. But we cannot 60 into
this problem now.
I n the two examples just quoted the excluded figure is the
father (in the first case appearing in the manifest dream; and in
the second case, in the latent dream thoughts). I n the example
I shall cite next the excluded person is the mother. She is at the
same time the internal object which opposes the union of the
patient (in his feminine part) with the father-analyst. I n the
former two examples, the patient's relation to the interpreta-
tions was, then, predominantly determined by the positive
Oedipus complex; in the latter case by the negative one.
A patient dreams that
he enters the room of a blonde girl with whom he wants to have
sexual relations. But in the same room there is another woman,
whose presence prevents the fulfilment of his desire.
With this woman he associated his wife, and with the blonde
girl his fair-haired son. He also mentioned his wife's jealousy
concerning the good relations between himself and his son.
Some other associations referring to his difficulty in feeling the
analyst and his interpretations clarified the dream. The blonde
girl represented a part of himself (he was indeed fair) and hence
his feminine relation to the father-analyst; the other woman (his
wife) represented his internal mother, jealous of his good rela-
tion to the father. The anxiety about his feminine feelings
towards the father-analyst spring (in great part, but not ex-
clusively) from his fantasy about the jealousy and hatred this
situation would cause his mother, jealousy and hatred that he
himself had felt towards her and then projected onto her. I t is
this anxiety about his feminine relation (in which his castration-
anxiety and other factors also intervene) that in the manifest
dream makes him assume the masculine role himself (re-intro-
jecting his masculine part projected onto the father-analyst) and
place his feminine part outside, in the blonde girl (the son). And
it is this same anxiety, in the rejection of which the patient
detached himself emotionally from the analyst and his inter-
I n female patients, analogous conflicts are found. I n every
case, the analysis of these and other early conflicts through
their return in the patient's relation to the interpretations, con-
stituted an essential part of the analysis of the transference and
facilitated their conscious living through, together with pro-
gressive changes taking place in the utilization of the interpreta-
tions, and in the patient's relation to his inner and outer objects.

I would now like to present a case which I have been able to
observe over a long period in my supervision work. This case
will show a series of infantile conflicts on various levels and
aspects of the psychosexual evolution as they appeared through
the relation to the interpretation. At the same time, some causes
of the negative therapeutic reaction will be studied, which was
nevertheless overcome to a certain degree, above all by means
of working through the transference conflicts.
The patient is a young woman, 32 years of age, a teacher by
profession, whose main problem consisted in her extreme diffi-
culty of relating herself to men. Consciously she thought that no
man would love her because she was ugly. She lived in a con-
stant state of anxiety which she referred to her solitude and to
the impossibility of this situation ever being modified.
The analytic situation, however, showed a rather different
picture as regards her interpersonal relations. I n the first place,
it was not the analyst who rejected her, but she herself who in
certain aspects rejected him constantly. She came to her sessions
regularly, but even in communicating her associations she had
to struggle with a considerable resistance. Her difficulties came
to a head in her relation to the interpretation. A latent rejec-
tion of them existed already before the analyst begins to speak,
rejection which the analyst clearly perceived in his counter-
transfercnce. Once the interpretation was given, the analysand
rejected it in some way-with a contradicting 'no', with a 'yes,
but', with silence, saying that she felt nothing, or overlooking
it in her ensuing associations. Analysis of these responses
showed the following underlying situations:
( I ) T o accept the interpretati2n meant, on one level, to unite
with the father-analysis and represented the realization of the
oedipal crime. I t could be seen, for instance, that the patient
did not 'seize' (as she said) or did not feel the interpretation,
because it was equivalent to 'seizing' or fecling the father-
analyst's penis. This (as she showed in dreams) would have led
to the mother's despair and suicide, since the mother wo-uld thus
lose her two most loved ones (through the union between her
daughter and hcr husband). I n other terms, to accept the inter-
pretation was equivalent to the realization of certain mastur-
batory fantasies which implied the mother's death.
T o receive the interpretation and admit that it really bore
fruit in her, also meant conceiving and giving birth to a child,
fruit of incest.
(2) The patient defended herself from realizing the oedipal
crime through constantly rejecting the father-analyst or, more
exactly (since it was a partial rejection), through rejecting the
interpretation-penis. One of the consequences of this repeated
defensive aggression was the feeling of having castrated or
damaged the father-analyst, with the depressive and paranoid
anxieties implicd therein. I n each session in which rejection
gained ovcr the analyst's attempts a t overcoming this difficulty,
the patient introjected and then carried away a castrated and
furious father, that is to say, a persecutor. Her consequent
anxiety was due to this internal persecution.
Within this level, the pathological benefit consisted in being
free of guilt and persecution in relation to the oedipal mother.
Each session was an alibi, proof of her innocence.
(3) The situation outlined before can also be described in the
following terms: The analysand carried within herself a mother-
imago opposing her acceptance of the interpretation-penis with
violent threats. The unconscious perception of this maternal
opposition -equivalent to the perception of the danger of
remaining alone as a woman-roused an intense and continuous
anxiety. O n a deeper level, this maternal imago was herself,
opposing the parent's sexual union, owing to jealousy and envy.
I n the analytic situation, these hostile feelings were then as
niuch directed against the interpretation-penis as against her
own feminine part which in her unconscious also represented her
mother. This could for example be seen through a dream, in
which the patient rejoiced over the obstacle to a marriage
between a man, who represented the father-analyst, and a girl,
who represented her (only) elder sister and, consciously, vic-
torious rival in the struggle for the father's love. Upon this
sister she had placed the mother's sexual part, but in the last
instance, her own sexual oedipal part as well. The dream was
determined by a session in which she had undone all of the
analyst's attempts at making her accept his interpretations. I n
this manner she had prevented the marriage between her
father-analyst and the mother inside herself, i.e. between her
father and herself. (The manifest dream calmed her latent
anxiety by denying that the 'marriage' in question was her
(4) Nevertheless, the rejecting attitude towards the inter-
pretation, on the oedipal level, also had other motives. I n
addition, the interpretation represented the 'not-penis', that is
to say, the frustration of her genital desires and of maternity,
since according to the patient, it 'merely consisted of words'.
Therefore, the rejection of the interpretation was also the
expression of her hate and revenge against the father because
he had not satisfied her sexually. I t was as if the patient, as a
child, had become stubborn, and now said, through the rejec-
tion of the interpretation: 'since you, father, did not give me
your penis nor a child, since you rejected me as a woman and
thus made me suffer so much, I am going to reject you in what-
ever other thing you will want to give me, and thus make you
suffer. I do not want to receive anything from you unless it is the
penis and the child.' The patient then despised the interpreta-
tion because it was not the penis (at bottom because it was the
frustrating penis), and she avenged the sexual frustration she had
suffered. She induced and seduced the analyst to interpret,
castrating him afterwards in the same way in which she had felt
induced and seduced to desire the father, later on feeling herself
'castrated' as a woman.'
(5) The father thus attacked-in need of defence or for ven-
geance-was transformed, as pointed out, into a damaged and
persecutory object. This situation increased her anxiety and
distrust of the interpretation, and her rejection too, since she
attributed destructive intentions to it. On the other hand,
affectionate concern for the damaged father emerged as well as
tendencies towards making reparation to him and restoring his
confidence in himself, by means of helping him in his analytic
I n addition, the persecutory paternal image had another
origin. I t was an ego-imago, it was the patient herself, attacking her
mother. As soon as she identified with the mother, i.e. as soon as
she adopted a feminine position (for example towards the inter-
pretation) she ran the same risk of being attacked. This is
shown by a dream in which
she has to go through a gynaecological operation; with great
anxiety she rejects the surgeon who was going to perform the
operation, urgently asking for another one.
Penis-envy also appeared clearly in her conflict with the interpreta-
tion, but predominantly as a masculine defence against her anxiety
about being a woman. Underlying her envy of the father, was her envy
of the mother, and especially of the maternal breast. We shall deal with
this conflict later on.
The two surgeons, the good and the bad one, not only repre-
sented the loved and hated father-analyst, but also the patient's
own love and hate towards the mother and her womb. I n face of
her guilty feelings and the fear of retaliation, which had aroused
the perception of her hostile impulses towards the mother, she
had defended herself by projecting them on to the father (origin
of the sadistic primal scene). Now that analysis was raising her
feminine desires again-in the transference-she ran the same
risk of being the victim of the father's attacks. Her fcar and
distrust of the interpretation are therefore due to her having
placed her own ambivalent impulses towards the sexual mother
on to the father-analyst (surgeon).
(6) Difficulties in accepting the diverse contents of the inter-
pretation were added to the conflicts thus far presented. The
interpretations can be differentiated, roughly speaking, into
those which showed the patient's struggles with her aggressive
feelings and those with her feelings of love. The former were
rejected because guilt-feelings referring to aggression were difi-
cult to bear and because they increased the feeling of objcct loss
(loss of the analyst). The latter were rejected owing to the same
guilt-feelings, that is to say, because the patient felt she did not
merit them, or because they meant the incestuous union with
the father-analyst (since they implied loving and feeling loved),
or because the acceptance of the affectionate part involved
feeling guilty.
(7) T h e universal conflicts described so far were manifested
with special intensity and specific characteristics in this paticnt,
thus conditioning a high degree of negative therapeutic reaction
over a long period. We must therefore considcr some specific
aspects of her infantile conflicts as well as their expression in
relation to the intcrprctation. Thc intensity of her rcjcctioil of
the union with the interpretation was, on the one hand, equi-
valent to the intensity with which the patient had opposed the
parents' union. O n the other hand, it was equivalent to the
intensity with which she had, at one time, turned towards the
father, and the corresponding violence with which she had
withdrawn from the mother.' She now had to suffer the same
These emotional intensities require an explanation. But on one side,
this problem is somewhat removed from our central subject, and 0x1 the
other, I would be unable to say anything regarding them that has not
already been expressed by Freud, by Klein (1932, 1957), and by other
authors. For instance, the intensity with which the patient rejected the
parents' union was based on a strong intolerance of sexual frustration,
loneliness to which she had once condemned her mother. This
became evident, for example, through her fantasy that the
analyst, according to her words, 'did not care a hoot for her', a
fantasy which had its origin in a situation in which her father
was everything to her, while she 'did not care a hoot' for her
mother. This situation, in which guilt regarding the mother was
intensely repressed, was made 'real' in her masturbation (and its
equivalents); the intense sensation of masturbatory pleasure
increased the feeling of reality of these manic fantasies. Corre-
sponding to the mother's total exclusion from her feeling (which
includes, as we shall still see, the mother's loved imago and the
affectionate feelings towards her being split off and intensely
denied), the patient had split off every hope for herself as a
woman. This hope for a positive future of her own and her own
life instinct were split off and placed, at one level, on to the
analyst and his interpretation, from which she had to remain
totally separated. What is more, in each session she had to
paralyse, annul, attack, and destroy the interpretation over
and over again. Thus she was projectively identified with Eros
or the life instinct, placed on the interpretation (latent or
manifest), and on attacking it, she attacked her own existence
and life as well, together with the loved object, source of her life.
Hence her terrible anxiety when the analyst posed the eventual
interruption of the analysis-at the peak of the negative thera-
peutic reaction-since it (apparently) was of no use to her. As
I said, truly her own hope-and the man (father) she awaited
-was placed (although in a paralysed fashion) on the analyst
and his interpretation, though a t the same time this hope
should never be realized. Superficially, she had 'yielded' life and
sexual capacity to the parents-analyst, and remained subjected
to the situation of the child excluded from pleasure.
(8) In this situation the analyst acquired the meaning of the
parents sexually united, and the interpretation was the expres-
sion of that union, or of its fruit. The jealous hate, envy, and
grecd in front of the united parents, and of their capacity to bear

and this, on an intense constitutional masochism. On the other hand,

her masochism was secondarily reinforced by the real support which her
guilt-feelings obtained from certain external events. Thus, for example,
the fact that her mother could bear no more children (owing moreover
to the patient's birth), reinforced her fantasy of having destroyed the
mother's womb in her attacks against the united parents.
children was then directed against the interpretation. A dream
in which
the patient devours a girl (prepared like a fillet of fish),
shows this greedy hate. In one aspect, the girl is the patient who
devours herself (for example, 'swallowing' many of her associa-
tions), due to the envy which the parents' happiness at having
such a daughter causes her. I n another aspect, the girl repre-
sents every product of the analyst (of the united parents),
especially of his interpretations, which are 'swallowed' in a
similar manner, 'without leaving any trace whatsoever' (ac-
cording to the patient's associations with the crime of the
dream). The act of devouring is at the same time a manic vic-
tory, a taking possession of the product of the parents' sexual
and creative potency, and a destruction of them (of the breast,
penis, child, ctc.). Firstly, this situation is an inversion of the
basic one, in which the analyst has all the riches, while the
patient remains with the lack, the need, and the desire. I n the
manic situation (once the girl is swallowed), the analyst depends
on the patient, but at the same time this is accompanied by
persecutory anxieties or by intense guilt-feelings. The dream of
devouring the girl shows in its sequel such guilt-feelings.
The patient feels terribly guilty regarding the parents of the
devoured child; she calls on the analyst who nevertheless rejects
her excuses, and declares the crime committed as unforgiveable.
Thus wc understand why the patient, as an ultimate defence,
inverts the situation again, placing every satisfaction and power
in thc analyst, and renouncing all hope for herself. In this
fashion she frees herself of all guilt. By means of intense splitting,
lier own hope and desire for progress are placed on the analyst,
his cvcry attcmpt at integrating this part in the patient being
That which was originally rejected thus returns, since the
situation of lack returns, which is experienced as persecution (as
long as a wish for life is still maintained through projective
identification) and which is experienced as death (when, appar-
ently, all libidinal impulses cease). We arc, therefore, once
more in the presence of the succession and stratification exposed
above, which-in terms of tcndencies-has been described by
Freud in the succession of primary masochism (which implies
the 'primary depressive and paranoid situations'), of sadism
(which implies the 'primary manic situation' when the death
instinct is turned towards the objects, and consequently, the
'secondary depressive and paranoid situations'), and of secon-
dary masochism (which implies a freeing from guilt and retalia-
tive persecution and, therefore, a 'secondary manic' experience,
but at the same time-since the situation of lack returns-it
represents a return of the 'primary depressive and paranoid
situations' in the defence).
(9)Through the patient's relation to the interpretation, three
infantile situations, of special importance in this case, will now
be shown as examples. The first is a depressive situation, fol-
lowed by a manic one, and finally by a paranoid-schizoid situa-
In a dream,
a horse appears, approaching a mare with amorous intentions.
Upon coming closer, the horse draws back with horror because
it sees that the mare's head is cut off (horizontally); the whole
upper part is missing.
The patient's associations indicate that on a superficial level,
this dream expresses her fantasy that in her presence any man
would draw back with horror, upon seeing her destroyed womb
(according to the retaliatory fantasies, etc.). Underneath this
fantasy lies another one: the infantile fantasy of herself having
destroyed the maternal womb. This depressive anxiety had
become actual in the days preceding the dream due to her
feeling of having attacked the mother-analyst's head, of having
cut ofThis brain, and thus of having destroyed all his capacity to
bear interpretations-children, due to her attacks against his
interpretations. At bottom it is therefore the patient who draws
back with horror from coming into contact with her destructive
work. As a defence against this depressive feeling, she identifies
with the attacked mother-analyst, placing her horror, her guilt-
feelings, and her depressive sorrow on to him (see pp. 96-97).
The patient comes to the session one day, very amused by the
news she has just read in the papers: some scientists were
demanding that the moon be declared free and independent.
'How absurd,' she exclaims, 'the moon belongs to whoever seesit!
... In their illimitable eagerness for possession men are like that,
pretending to invade the whole of space!' These associations
also referred to the transference situation. In those scientists
she rejected her own part which has already taken possession
of the whole world, i.e. of the parents-analyst. She carried them
within her, having devoured them (as the girl of the dream),
and rather considered as absurd the analyst's pretension to an
independent existence outside her. I n succeeding associations
she criticized a woman for her rigid adhesion to ideas trans-
mitted to her by a man; moreover, the patient criticized this
man for his omnipotent behaviour. When the analyst pointed
out that she criticized her own mental rigidity in that woman,
she replied that this was true, but at least it was her own ideas
she was clinging to so stubbornly. That is to say, she carried the
man, creator of ideas, inside herself a t the same time. She is at
once man and woman, the united couple, fecundating herself
and giving birth to her children. I t can be understood that this
manic fantasy and behaviour, by which she is everything,
nullified the analyst's existence, making his interpretation super-
fluous. On certain occasions, it was clear that she rejected an
interpretation because it was the analyst and not she who
expressed it. At other times, when the patient had had the same
idea, she had accepted it fully. In this way, the patient tried to
defend herself in face of the basic situation, in which the analyst
is everything, and in which she attacks him, enviously and
jealously. But it can also be understood how in its turn, this
manic behaviour leads to depressive and paranoid feelings, due
to the abolition (destruction) of the analyst's existence.
Little by little, a change was brought about by means of the
repeated analysis of these situations in the transference, and in
the patient's relation to the interpretations. As I have already
mentioned, the patient's ultimate defence (the most superficial
but also the most intense one), consisted in declaring herself
definitely excluded from life as a woman. By virtue of this
mechanism, she remained the victim, while the parents-analyst,
and especially the mother, could be pointed out as the victim-
izers. By splitting off the mother's good image, the patient could
maintain herself free of guilt-feelings about her. The change in
this inner situation was foreshadowed in the following dream.
She sees her aunt (whom she had described as being extremely
sweet and affectionate)and somebody does not allow her through
a fence. The aunt's situation is highly precarious which causes her
great sorrow. The patient promises to do everything she possibly
can to help her.
She awakens from this dream with an intense feeling of guilt, a
feeling which she could not perceive for a long period of her
session. I n her associations, she said that in reality her mother
had cruelly harassed this aunt (the mother's sister), and added
that the mother's behaviour was surely due to her guilt-feelings
for having everything herself (husband, children, money), while
the aunt, after a short and unhappy marriage, was destitute and
livcd alone.
In one of her aspects, the aunt represented the analyst, who
at this phase was felt as 'sweet and affectionate'. The fence
represented the lock with which the patient opposed him intern-
ally. O n the other hand, the aunt represented the patient's
own 'sweet and affectionate' part, which she kept excluded,
'fenced off' (split off) from herself in her relation to the analyst.
Historically, the aunt was the mother's split-off good image, or
more precisely, as is shown by the word 'sweet', the image of the
good breast. In this manner, some of the patient's relations to
the breast reappeared in her relation to the interpretation. The
splitting between good and bad breast, and the corresponding
splitting between love and hate, can thus be seen. Love for the
breast had been kept away from the transference, every inter-
pretation being considered as lacking value and goodness, since
in this way the patient could maintain herself free of guilt
regarding the mother-analyst. This is shown by the irruption of
guilt following the dream, i.e. when love and the good image
of the 'sweet' breast were reintegrated through the 'affectionate'
( 1 0 )Thus we arrive at the patient's deepest conflicts with the
interpretations, her conflicts with the breast. I n closing, I would
like to present a dream which shows some decisive aspects of
this relation.
'I am buying a brooch for my blouse from a communist woman
(who sells things). The brooch consists of many little stan which
have an extraordinary brilliance when seen in daylight. The
brooch is owl-shaped. The woman has two brooches, a big and a
smaller one. I buy the big one.'
Associations: 'My father has a certain sympathy for Com-
munism. Ana (an older friend of the patient) is a communist.
Doctor X (a woman psychologist) has communist tendencies.
The day before the dream I went to the movies with my father,
which I had not done for a long time.. I n the newsreel we saw the
Sputnik. A luminous point could be seen, passing through the
starry sky.
'Mary (a girl who makes ceramics) did not work for a long
time. Now she has made something again; some animals, among
them an owl . . the owl sees a t night ... I met Mary some
years ago; she used to be very pretty, but now she is not so
pretty. During these last years she was, psychologically, in a very
bad state; she had many conflicts with her mother.'
Interpretation: The woman in the dream is the mother-analyst
(the wife of the father with communist sympathies, the com-
munist psychologist). She is also Ana, the childless woman,
whereby the patient alludes to the analyst, inasmuch as he did
not have her for a daughter and inasmuch as she refused to be
her mother's daughter. The stars are the good interpretations,
which 'have an extraordinary brilliance when seen in daylight';
they were felt as wonderful creations, like the Sputniks of the
Russian communists. I n their totality the interpretations are
like an owl, because 'they see in the night' of the unconscious.
The patient is like Mary, not as pretty any more, owing to the
conflicts with her mother. But, as with Mary, she is 'working
again' in her analysis, i.e. she loves her analyst once more,
giving him life through feeling, appreciating, and even admiring
his interpretations-stars, and re-creating him in this way (which
is equivalent to creating a child or a mother). She buys one of
the two brooches for her blouse, that is to say, she acquires one
of the mother-analyst's breasts for herself. She chooses the big-
ger, the analyst remaining with the smaller one; just as in the
session preceding the dream, she had compared herself to a
woman -a famous woman-analyst's patient- who, owing to a
great success, had fancied herself to be more than her spiritual
The dream thus shows that the interpretations are felt as the
breast's 'wonderful' aspects and contents, and that the capacity
'to see at night', to discover the truth, is equated to the breast's
life-giving capacity. Admiration for the breast is the basis for
the admiration of all creative capacity as Klein (1957) has
pointed out. The patient felt herself to be a bad daughter (or no
daughter at all), as long as she did not want to recognize the
goodness and capacity of this breast (the stars only shone if held
to the light). She already knew this breast was good, but she
wanted it for herself, and thus to excel the mother-analyst.
At the beginning, the patient experienced this interpretation
with great pleasure. Her first reaction was to marvel at what
the analyst had been able to see in her dream. But this feeling
disappeared immediately, to be replaced by pessimistic ideas
about her condition and her future. The admiration for, and the
good relation to the mother-analyst was again interfered by her
rivalry and envy, as can be understood in the dream. Moreover,
to accept fully the analyst's goodness, would have meant to
endure the weight of her guilt-feelings, This was made evident
by the fact that the patient soon turned to new accusations
against the analyst, and the uselessness of his interpretations.
She declared herself 'fed up with them and with woman in
general'. On showing her that she had so soon transformed the
food the analyst had given her, and which she had liked so
much, into bad food, she continued her accusations, saying that
the mother had always given her milk together with blood
(referring to a real event). But it was clear that in this defence
against her guilt-feelings, guilt due to her hostile feelings to-
wards her mother, returned. Her hostile feelings towards the
analyst-represented in a dream of the following night by a
tiger-cub which demanded human flesh-in fact also trans-
formed the interpretations into a mixture of milk and blood.
Little by little, the most important infantile conflicts were
thus worked through by means of the analysis of the patient's
transference relation to the interpretation. At the same time
important changes in the relation to the interpretations gradually
took place, though not without setbacks, which made their
better acceptance and assimilation possible. I n this way the
negative therapeutic reaction was favourably influenced, anxiety
diminished, and the basis for better relations with internal and
external objects was created.
The Countertransference Neurosis'

The significance given to countertransference and the impor-

tance attached to the corresponding problems depends on the
significance given to the role of the analyst in the cure. This role
is considered as a twofold one. First, he is the interpreter of the
unconscious processes, and secondly, he is the object of these
same processes. An immediate consequence of this is the twofold
role of the countertransference: it may intervene and interfere,
firstly, inasmuch as the analyst is an interpreter, and secondly,
inasmuch as he is the object of the impulses. As regards the former,
the countertransference may help, distort, or hinder the percep-
tion of the unconscious processes. O r again, the perception may be
correct but the percept may provoke neurotic reactions which impair his
interpretative capacity. As regards the latter- the analyst as object
-the countertransference affects his manner and his behaviour
which in turn influence the image the analysand forms of him.
Through the analyst's interpretations, the form he gives them,
his voice, through every attitude he adopts towards the patient,
the latter perceives (consciously or unconsciously) the psycho-
logical state he happens to be in-not to speak of the debatable
question of telepathic perception. Thus the countertransference,
by affecting the analyst's understanding and behaviour, in-
fluences the patient and especially his transference, that is to
say, the process on which the transformation of his personality
and object relations so largely dcpcnd.
Just as the whole of the patient's personality, the healthy
part and the neurotic part, his present and past, reality and
fantasy, are brought into play in his relation with the analyst,
so it is with the analyst, although with qualitative and quanti-
tative differences, in his relation with the patient. These two
relations differ, above all, through the different external and
internal situations of patient and analyst in analytical treatment
and through the fact of the latter's having already been analysed.
Nevertheless the previous statement still holds. For neither is the
Lecture delivered to the Argentine Psychoanalytic Association,
September 1948. Reprinted from Int. 3. Psycho-Anal. (rg53), 3 ~ .
analyst free of neurosis. Part of his libido remains fixated in
fantasy-to the introjected objects-and so apt to be trans-
ferred. Part of his psychic conflicts remain unsolved and strive
after a solution by means of relations with external objects.
His profession, too, and his resulting social and financial situa-
tion are subject to the transference of central inner situations.
Finally the direct relation with the patient lends itself to trans-
ference, for the psychoanalyst's choice of profession, like all such
choices, is itself based upon the object relations of infancy. Just
as the whole of the patient's images, feelings, and impulses
towards the analyst, insofar as they are determined by the past,
is called 'transference' and its pathological expression 'trans-
ference neurosis', in the same way the whole of the analyst's
images, feelings, and impulses towards the patient, insofar as
they are determined by the past, are called 'countertransference'
and its pathological expression may be called 'countertrans-
ference neurosis'.
The transference is always present and always reveals its
presence. Likewise countertransference is always present and
always reveals its presence, although, as in the case of trans-
ference, its manifestations are sometimes hard to perceive and
What interests us most here is the neurotic part of counter-
transfercnce that disturbs the analyst's work. Every analyst
knows quite well that he himself is not wholly free of infantile
dcpendcnce, of neurotic representations of object and subject
and of pathological defence mechanisms. But certain facts-
which I shall enumerate-call to mind the two different ways
of 'knowing' which Freud speaks of when he rcfers to the signi-
ficance of the resistances. For the analyst's knowledge of neurotic
countertransference is, as a rule, at first only a theoretical
knowledge. Here also resistanccs must be overcome for him to
become really 'conscious of his unconscious' and here also
elaboration must follow. Besides, it seems that this evolutionary
process is governed by the same fundamental Haeckelian law
r hat governs biogcnetic processes: just as the coun tertransference
processes represent relatively late discoveries in the history- the
phylogenesis-of the science of psycho-analysis, so it is-
although with individual differences-in the history of each
member and perhaps also in that of each group of the analytic
I sliall now cite some of the facts that point to the existence of
t11is resistance.
I 06
Above all, little has been written or spoken about counter-
transference (1948).Even in 'esoteric' analytical literature
there are very few writings under this heading. I n case histories
countertransference is seldom mentioned, still less treated with
any profundity. To my mind these facts are due, in part a t least,
to a resistance. I t would seem that among analytic subjects
countertransference is treated somewhat like a child of whom
the parents are ashamed. But this 'shame', or, I should say,
the danger that threatens the analyst's self-esteem and others'
esteem for him in owning that he, a n analysed person analysing
others, continues to be neurotic, is no more than a superficial
expression of the causes of his resistance to becoming aware of
the countertransference. Beneath this there lie all the fears and
defences inherent in his neurosis, and his professional situation
only clothes the old impulses, images and anxieties in a new
Observation of my own countertransference and afterwards
of that of candidates (in analysis or supervision) and the aware-
ness of its great importance in therapy have led me to report
some of these experiences. My main intention in the present
paper is to suggest a point of view from which countertrans-
ference may be advantageously regarded. The pathological part
of countertransference is an expression of neurosis like any other
and should be investigated with all the means of which psycho-
analysis disposes.
I n the same way as the original neurosis and the transfer-
ence neurosis, the 'countertransference neurosis' is also centred
in the Oedipus complex.2 At this level every male paticnt
fundamentally reprcsents the father and every female patient
the mother. I n a similar fashion to the transference neurosis, the
real factors such as the age of the object (in this case, of the
paticnt), his bodily appearance, his general psychological state,
his moods, ctc., evoke some aspect or othcr of what is already
preformed in the analyst as his inner oedipal situation.
Here I shall consider countertransference separately for the
two sexes.
Towards the female patient the analyst has a latent pre-
M. Little ( 1 9 5 1 )stresses the frequent 'paranoid or phobic attitude
towards countertransference. especially where the feelings are, or may
be, subjective'.
I shall confine myself to what concerns the male analyst.
disposition to experience all the feelings and impulses that he
directed on to his mother during the oedipal phase. In accor-
dance with the originally positive nature of this relation, he is
predisposed to positive feelings and genital impulses, even
before meeting the patient. Owing to the prohibition of active-
phallic impulses both in the past oedipal situation and in the
present analytical situation in which genital behaviour is for-
bidden to the analyst, in an analogous way, these feelings and
impulses easily acquire a passive-phallic character. The un-
conscious desire may now be (at this level) that the patient
should fall in love with the analyst's penis. I n this desire there
may lie, in part, the origin of his wish that she should make a
good positive transference.
This countertransference situation has most important conse-
quences. Whenever there exists a desire for the patient to fall in
love (or for positive transference) and this desire is seriously
frustrated, rejection and hatred of the patient arise. T h e desire
to bind the mother erotically may also find expression in the
desire that the patient should not establish any new extra-
transference erotic relations. This danger is increased by the
circumstance that the rule of abstinence (with regard to acting
out) lends itself to the rationalization of this desire. O n the
other hand, he may find himself inhibited from advising
obedience t o the rule of abstinence (or-as is customary now-
adays-from interpreting in this sense), as a reaction-forma-
tion against the guilty desire to bind the patient and against
using this rule in the service of this desire.
The desire to bind the patient also corresponds to the desire
of parents not to 'let go of' their children. As the liberation of
the patient from the infantile dependence and its transference
equivalent is the core of analytical treatment, we must admit
that this desire on the analyst's part acts as a tendency not to
cure the patient. Thus together with the desire to cure (which
likewise has deep roots in the unconscious) we find tendencies in
the analyst in the opposite direction.' We shall meet later on
with other examples, such as sexual envy, etc.
In the erotic transference the patient sooner or later feels the
analyst as a rtjecting object (father) and frequently tends to a n
acting out. This may consist in a flirtation, with greater or less
direct realization, aimed a t flight into freedom (to free herself
from the transfcrence bond) and revenge on the rejecting object.
M. Little (1g51),by a somewhat different approach, arrives at the
same conclusions.
I 08
This revenge may be felt by the analyst in his unconscious as
hatred and unfaithfulness towards him and in turn provoke
irritation and hatred in him. I n this case the analyst may,
through the patient's words, relive the primal scene, in a direct
or symbolical form, as what it had meant to him as a child, i.e.
as a grave aggression against him from the parents-here,
especially the mother.
Something analogous may occur in regard to the sexual act
between the patient and her husband (cf. Langer, 1948). A
patient who had started with a good positive transference-and
the young analyst with a good countertransference-com-
pletely eliminatcd him at a certain moment from her associa-
tions. This rejection on the patient's part, together with a n in-
tensification of her scxual life with her husband, was experienced
by the analyst in connexion with his own oedipal situation so
that he was once again the child whose parents have sexual
relations, satisfying themselves and excluding and rejecting him.
The analyst felt disappointed and reacted inwardly with irrita-
tion against the patient -the bad mother-and with feelings of
inferiority and envy towards her sexual partner, the husband.
The paticnt's hatred of the image she had projected upon the
analyst expressed itsclf in an intense resistance against comply-
ing wit11 the fundamental rulc of treatmcnt. Thus to the
analyst's oedipal frustration there was added a further frustra-
tion in his profession, which also has its oedipal significance.
I n cases wherc the paticnt's transference was superficially
very positive, where the analyst represented the intensely desired
father, thc paticnt's husband represented, a t this level, the pro-
hibiting motller. But, for the analyst's unconscious, the hus-
band was his fathcr, whom the mother deceives with him. This
situation was on the one hand satisfactory; on the other hand,
sometimcs there appeared expressions of castration-anxiety
and guilt-feclin~stowards the fathcr (the husband). But with
the analyst's 'victory' thc husband became the rejected son,
that is to say, at bottom, the analyst himself. This identification
with the husband then enabled the analyst to desire even un-
consciously that the patient should have good sexual relations
with her husband. But he could not admit any other man who
would once again represent the father who robs him sexually of
his mother.
Another aspect of the oedipal trauma was relived by a
young analyst in the case of a girl who, after several months of
analysis, confcssed that she had not becn frank with him, but
had withheld the fact that she was no longer a virgin and even
prior to treatment had started sexual relations and had con-
tinued them for a time while under analysis. The declaration
came to the analyst as a violent repetition of an old trauma; it
resembled the experience of 'scxual enlightenment', as if he
were thinking once again, 'My parents have always been doing
"that", i.e. coitus, but have hidden it from me and forbidden
me it; they have deceived me.' The countertransference with
this patient had been very positive-too much so; she had been
the 'pure' mother, but now she had become a 'whore'. Besides
this sexual, affective, and narcissistic frustration, the analyst
also underwent a professional frustration; the patient's lack of
sincerity doubtless delayed the wished-for therapeutic success.
The profession, it is known, also has an oedipal significance
which is added to the direct oedipal countertransference to the
person under treatment.
The analyst had known that there were conscious resistances
in the patient; but, apart from the girl's skill in hiding the facts,
there were neurotic obstacles in himself that hindered his sur-
mising what she was later to confess. These obstacles were,
firstly, his desire for a strong positive transference on the girl's
part which made him overrate it, and, secondly, his desire for a
'pure' mothcr, both of which desires spring from the Oedipus
T o sum up: in countertransference various aspects of the
oedipal situation are repeated. Sometimes the analyst lovcs the
patient genitally and desires her genital love towards him; he
hates her if shc then loves another man, feels rivalry of this
man and jealousy and envy (heterosexual and homosexual) of
their sexual plcasurcs. Sometimes hc hates Iler if she hates him,
and lovcs licr if she suffers, for in this case he is revenged for the
oedipal deceit. He feels satisfaction when the transference is very
positive, but also castration-anxiety and guilt-feelings towards
the husband, ctc.
The dangers entailed in these reactions are plain. I have
already mentioned the analyst's tendency to bind the patient to
him and the consequent difficulties for the interpretation of the
acting out. T o this must be added, for instance, the fear of those
persons for whom the patient is an important (erotic) object
inasmuch as she tends to abandon them; fear of oedipal aggres-
sion projcctcd on the husband may arise in the analyst if the
patient turns towards anothcr object; or fear of oedipal aggres-
sion projcctccl on the parcnts, should a virgin girl begin to have
sexual relations when under analysis (fear of making a prosti-
tute of her; oedipal degradation of sexuality), etc.
Altlzough the neurotic reactions of countertransference may
be sporadic, the predisposition to them is continuous.l They
come about when certain circumstances in the patient's life and
personality encounter certain internal and external circum-
stances in the analyst. The question now arises whether or not
these situations are of a general character. If it is admitted that
neurosis and analysis are interminable, so is the Oedipus com-
plex. Under one aspect or another it will express itself, then,
in every couiltertransfcreilce. What varies is the form of its
elaboration, the consciousness of it, and its degree of intensity.
These not only vary from person to person but in each one
they vary from hour to hour and are different at different
periods of lifc. But even in the bcst of cascs there are external
and internal forces to make one 'go back to one's first love',
first hatred and fear. So I think that in spite of the individual
features peculiar to the individual oedipal constellations I have
reported, tlic above exposition rests on a general basis and
hence posscsses a certain general validity.
Towards tlie male patient, also, we find, under certain cir-
cumstalices, a position corresponding to the positive Oedipus
complex, i.c. rivalry and hatred. This occurs with special
illtensity where tlie patient has cxperieilced (or is experiencing)
certain ocdipnl trends that tlic analyst himself has particularly
wished to satisfy but has suppressed, as, for instance, the desire
to stcal another person's wifc. In consequence there may arise
in thc analyst not o~ilycnvy and liatred of the patient, which
disturb his internal analytical position, but also malicious satis-
faction in finding inhibitions and fears in other aspects of the
patient's lift=. ?'he possible consequcnccs and dangers of such a
countcrtransfircncc situatioil arc clear. In ordcr not to lengthen
this scction unduly, I rcfrairi from furnishing more examples or
entcring illto any further dctafl. I only wish to add that I have
the imprcssion that the positive Oedipus complex appcars, as a
rule, more often when dealing with a woman than with a man,
So long as the analyst knows himself to be under the influence of a
neurotic impulse, he should, of course, postpone communicating any
interpretation, if possible, until he has analysed his state and overcome
it. A guide of a certain.practica1 value for knowing whether it is the
neurosis that is driving him, is the comfiulsiveness with which he feels the
need to give the interpretation. Behind this compulsiveness there clearly
lies the invariable sign of neurotic reaction -anxiety.
and, vice versa, the negative Oedipus complex more often with a
man than with a woman. This may possibly be due to the fact
that the analyst usually has from the start a preeminently
libidinal position towards patients of either sex,
Corresponding . to the above-mentioned castration-anxiety,
oedipal guilt-feelings, and heterosexual disappointment in the
positive oedipal experience, we have the position belonging to
the negative Oedipus complex. The countertransference situa-
tion that most frequently manifests itself a t this level is, perhaps,
the desire to be loved by the male patient. We are dealing here,
no less than in the case of the female patient, with a very com-
plex desire which will later concern us still further. At the level
we are now considering, this desire aims at being possessed by
the father anally. As this desire is violently rejected it is often
converted into the desire to possess the father actively. The
father's anus may be replaced by his mouth, and both the anal
act and the fellatio imply at the same time that the man (father,
brother), submits to the subject through his libidinal desire for
his penis and can be dominated because of this dependence.
Towards the male patient, then, there is, virtually or really,
the desire to be loved by him, the desire for him to submit, and,
more deeply, all tendencies of a homosexual nature, both pas-
sive and active. This finds expression, for instance, in the
analyst's love for the patient when the latter works well in his
analysis, overcomes resistances, obeys 'my fundamental rule' (as
a candidate said), and submits in this way to the analyst. If he
does not do so, the analyst's homosexual desires are thwarted;
behind the patient's resistance he may sense hatred, which,
added to the frustration suffered, sometimes arouses hatred in
the analyst also.
The patient's anal or oral submission and his homosexual love
mean to the analyst that the father belongs to him and not to
the mother. I n this way the analyst is also protected against his
latent envy and hatred of his father for his sexual satisfaction
with the mother, protected against his envy and hatred of the
woman for her sexual satisfaction with the man, and against his
anger with either of them for giving what he wants to someone
else and not to him.
As an example I will present the experience of a candidate in
dealing with a male patient with intense reaction-formations
against anal and oral dependence and a very marked tendency
to take revenge for the frustrations suffered at the positive
oedipal level. Indeed, one of the unconscious reasons that led
this patient to analysis was the desire to be better able to take
revenge on his mother and father. Now this desire existed
repressed in the analyst too. Thus the patient carried out per-
versely what the analyst rejected neurotically. (It is clear that a
repressed tendency should conflict with the corresponding
perversion carried out by somebody else. The perception of the
perversion renews the neurotic conflict and provokes hatred as a
defence.) The analyst thus perceived the patient's marked
aggressiveness towards men in general and himself in parti-
cular, which meant the frustration of his homosexual desires
towards the patient. The frustration opened his eyes to the
nature of the unpleasant feelings (hatred and its consequences,
envy, etc.) against which the patient's homosexual love should
protect him- apart from the satisfaction of attaining it.
The negative Oedipus complex once again finds expression
when the patient's wife, as a rival of the analyst, seeks to coun-
teract the positive relationship between him and her husband.
I n this case the image of the wife may become fused with that
of the mother-rival in the analyst's negative Oedipus complex.
When the patient is female, the image the analyst forms of
her may also be fused with that of the hated mother in the
negative Oedipus complex. For the moment I only mention the
example of the patient's undermining a positive internal rela-
tionship between her husband and the analyst, who, in his
unconscious, has already established (albeit from afar) a homo-
sexual relationship with the husband.
I t is evident that all these countertransference situations
corresponding to the negative oedipal level, once they attain a
certain intensity and remain unconscious and out of control,
will occasion serious difficulties to the analyst in his under-
standing and interpretation of the case and in his behaviour
towards the patient.
To continue, allow me first to recall some well-known facts.
The infantile oedipal experience (which we have been dealing
with up to now) leads to the setting-up of the superego, the for-
mation of which has already been prepared at previous levels of
experience. Herewith an internal situation is brought about
which can be synthesized in these words. The libido is, in part,
attached to the introjected objects in the superego (the father
and, more deeply, the mother, etc.). The guilt-feelings exacer-
bate the need to be loved by these objects. Acceptance of the
ego by the superego or by the reprojected parents must avert
the catastrophe, especially castration and object loss.
In the countertransference situation these introjected objects
may bc transferred onto the patient in either of two forms:
firstly, on the patient as an individual, and secondly, on the
patient as an important factor within other object-relationships
of the analyst. As for the first form- the direct one-most of
the countertransference situations described hitherto belong
here; the patients themselves represented the fatllcr or the
mother. The second form refers to transference of the intro-
jected objects either upon society as a whole, by which, for
instance, he wishes 'to be accepted' through his professional and
scientific activity, or upon a social group such as the analytic
group, or upon some individual (an analyst, a member of the
family, a friend, etc.). In all these cases (of the second form) also,
the introjected objects are at the same time transferred onto thc
patient, but in an indirect way; one might here speak of a sub-
transference, to differentiate it from direct transference, in which
the analyst wishes to be loved, etc., by the patient himself. As a
rule both forms of countertransference, the direct and the
indirect, will manifest themselves in a greater or lesser degree.
To arrive a t a deeper understanding of these aspects of the
'couiltertransference neurosis', I shall set forth some concrete
I shall refer in the first place to situations in which the can-
didate or analyst lived the position of sub-transference as regards
his patients, while making a direct transference of the superego
on some other real object as, for instance, an analyst of 'higher
rank', a 'father analyst'. I shall first set forth some cases in
which there was danger of the treatment failing. I n some of these
patients there was also a possibility of their committing suicide.
When faced with such dangers the ana.lyst will experience a
This differentiation accords, in essence, with differentiations made
by A. Reich (1g51),who draws a distinction between 'countertransfer-
ence in the proper sense' and 'the expressions of the analyst's using the
analysis for acting-out purposes', and she considers that in these latter
cases '. . . the patients are frequently not real objects onto whom some-
thing is transferred . .' I think, nevertheless, that where, for instance,
the patient's improvement helps the analyst 'to master guilt-feelings'
(A. Reich), the patient represents a 'real object' which the analyst (even
if only in fantasy) had damaged and is now repairing.
greater or lesser degree of anxiety. What are these dangers,
considered analytically? In some cases the idea occurred to the
analyst that if the treatment should fail, he would be violently
criticized and persecuted by his accusers. These were repre-
sented either by another analyst (for example, a friend of the
patient's), or by one of the patient's relations, or by the didactic
analyst, the control-analyst, or the Executive Committee of the
Institute of Psycho-Analysis. The superego, as I have said, was
projected upon these real objects. The danger threatening the
analyst was, in the first place, castration, as to practise the
profession means, on the oedipal level, to castrate the father and
conquer the mother. Castration-anxiety then led to regressive
processes and old defence mechanisms, entailing a revival of
what has bccn called the basic depressive cogict of neuroses and
psychoses (Pichon Riviere, 1947).In defence against this situa-
tion, that is to say, where the ego is defending itself against
persecution by a very severe superego, there arise paranoiac,
manic and other mechanisms. The cruel superego is, on the
oedipal level, the father who castrates; on deeper levels, the
thrcatcning danger is that of being eaten, being destroyed, etc.
Hitherto I have been concerned with the genital and anal
levels of the 'countertransference neurosis'. Now I shall describe
somc countertransference experiences in their oral expression,
in closc connexion with the aspects of the matter under con-
( I ) One of the defence mechanisms against the dangers
pointcd out above is that of masochistic submission to the desires
of thc introjcctcd objects. A female patient had been sent to the
candidate by a 'father-analyst', whose esteem as regards his
capacity as a future analyst was very important to him. The
patient had a great deal of anxiety and a great deal of 'hunger'.
'rhe candidate 'fed' her as much as he could and after a few
months she had remarkably improved. But proportionally to
the gravity of the patient's illness, the candidate felt anxiety,
for so long as she was ill, he had not been fulfilling the wishes
of the introjected and reprojected object, that is to say, the
'father-analyst'. In his efforts he was giving himself to her, and
abandoning himself, 'tearing himself to pieces', 'ruining him-
self' or 'killing himself' for her; all these expressions faithfully
reflected the situation of the ego submitting to the archaic per-
secuting superego.
Finally, the candidate himself fell ill. He knew that his illness
was connected with the analysis of the patient. Inside himself he
blamed her and her 'vampirism', and hated her until he
grasped the fact that he was projecting, and that in reality it was
his own 'hunger' and the danger of the corresponding frustra-
tions that caused his ailment. His own 'hunger' corresponded
to the voracity of his superego which he had projected, and vice
versa. In other words, he admitted her eating from him so that
he could eat too; he 'castrated' himself and 'killed' himsclf a
little so as not to be castrated and killed completely.
(2) Another defence mechanism against the catastrophes I
have mentioned is the identification with the projected superego
and the projection of the bad and guilty object introjected in
the ego. In superficial terms: 'I am not incompetent, but it is the
patient who is no good'. I n a case of a female patient, the
candidate's dependence on his superego was brought markedly
into play by the circumstance of its being the first case he
presented in a seminar on technique. The patient hardly spoke,
and what little she said was not always sincere. I t was a very
difficult case, and the candidate was particularly anxious for her
to progress: he wished to show the seminar what he knew and
what he was capable of. But it was all in vain. At the same time
the candidate was conscious that he was a beginner, that is to
say, that the case could certainly be handled better. Scarcely
any of his interpretations were successful with the patient, and
it came to the point where he had moments of hating her. T o
defend himself against his feeling of helplessncss and inferiority,
he inwardly accused the patient. Threatened by failure, he was
thus exposed to persecution by the superego which hc had
projected in a direct way on the seminar, the director, etc.,
and in an indirect way upon the patient. She became a per-
secuting object, and he the persecuted. But in rebellion and
defence against this unbearable state of affairs, and relying on
the support of important objects (opinions of the director, and
of advanced candidates in the seminar), he inverted the situa-
tion: he became the persecuting subject and the patient the
persecuted object. But in view of the fact that the basic situation
remained unaltered, the situation now created should be more
precisely formulated as follows: he was the victim turned perse-
cutor and she the persecutor turned victim.
(3) While in this situation the superego continues to act, at
bottom, as a persecutor, we may find other states in which ( a )
the bad object (originally introjected into the ego and now
projected upon the patient) is subjectively and temporarily
experienced as 'overcome' or 'eliminated' or else (6) where the
superego shows itself to be a good object that loves and accepts.
I n both cases manic situations arise. Here also the depressive
situation still continues at bottom, but the defensive battle is,
temporarily, won and the (apparent) victory frees the subject
from anxiety and conflict. Here is an example for each of these
(a) A direct 'elimination' of the bad object was brought about
in the following case, which I shall set forth in greater detail,
because besides the manic mechanism, it shows the basic depres-
sive situation as well as the paranoic and masochistic defGnces of the
analyst's 'countertransference neurosis'.
The patient was a woman of 35 years of age, unmarried, who
had come to analysis at her fianct's request. His reasons for this
were her great aggressiveness towards him and her complete
frigidity. The case soon proved to be very serious, with a
marked melancholic nucleus and manifold paranoid rami-
fications (attempts at suicide, erotomania, erythrophobia, etc.);
at the same time the patient displayed little awareness of her
illness. The conscious and unconscious resistances were very
great, and the young analyst soon began to doubt whether he
would be able to help her. Nevertheless, he did not wish to
drop the case, for he knew, so he said, that, however unlikely
the cure, analysis was the woman's one real hope. The analyst's
superego therefore demanded that he help her, but his ego was
helpless. In view of the further fact that the womanlwas closely
connected with the analytical circle, the idea of the treatment
failing took on, for his unconscious, the significance of castra-
tion, or loss of the introjected objects. Against this danger and
the resulting anxiety, the analyst defended himself by (in-
wardly) accusing the patient. He began to hate her.
This hatred aroused guilt-feelings in him. While the patient's
state remained unchanged, the analyst oscillated inwardly be-
tween accusations against her and self-recriminations. But one
day an external event provoked a change in the situation. The
fianct broke off all relations with the patient for good. She fell
into a state of depression and thought seriously of suicide. The
analyst's hatred, now satisfied, ceased, and his guilt-feelings
became acute. He had hated her and in his unconscious he was,
magically, responsible for her misfortune. The patient now
transferred in great part upon him her hatred and accusation
of the primary objects and of the fiancd. The analyst, perse-
cuted by the accusations and threats of his superego, utterly
submitted to her oral aggressiveness and 'hunger'. He offered
her his free hours, and frequently at week-ends she stayed in his
house for several hours, crying, accusing him, threatening him
with suicide, etc. He masochistically let himself be eaten, bitten,
and partially castrated for her, to fend off total catastrophe.
Little by little the patient got better, though only super-
ficially. A cure of far-reaching improvement was more than the
analyst could hope for. So, when she found a new love-object,
he agreed to her abandoning analysis, a thing he had not
accepted while she was depressed. What he felt at the moment
she left off analysis was a truly manic state. He was 'set free' of
the 'bad object', and 'free' of the persecuting superego, both of
which had been alternately (sub-)transferred on to the patient.
(6) I n the case just reported the mania was brought about by
means of the pseudo-real elimination of the persecuting object.
In other cases mania was experienced through the fact that the
superego changed into a good object which loves and accepts.
This happened, for instance, where there was at first a hard
therapeutic struggle in which the analyst-as in the case under
( I ) above-was persecuted by the superego (the patient and
the 'father-analyst' of that case), and then a genuine and note-
worthy improvement in the patient was produced which was
recognized, furthermore, by these very objects.
I n all the cases set forth in this section the activity of the
analyst constituted the external field in which the basic inner
conflict was lived. More precisely, it was success or failure in
therapeutic activity,that was decisive for the situation between
the ego and the superego. A similar part-although a lesser one
in intensity and frequency-is also played by other activities in
the psycho-analytic profession, such as, for example, scientific
writings. In the case of one patient (female) the analyst had
considered writing a report of his treatment. The patient's
symptoms were very interesting and the beginning of the analysis
had been quite satisfactory. I n his contentment at being able to
do interesting work and being accepted accordingly by the
superego (and its projection on the analytical circle), there
arose a strong positive countertransference. But a few weeks
later great difficulties began and the analyst had more and
more the impression that he was dealing with a scientifically
sterile case. He felt the hatred lying behind the patient's intense
resistances, and although consciously he knew well enough that
this aggressiveness was directed against the introjected child-
hood objects and now projected upon him, he reacted inwardly
with annoyance and hatred against the 'unjust hatred' of the
I 18
patient. But in reality, the patient's hatred was 'just', doubly
'just', and this also the analyst knew, consciously, very well. For
the hatred not only corresponded exactly, insofar as the patient
felt it, to the badness of her introjected objects, but it also corre-
sponded exactly, insofar as it was the analyst who suffered
under it, to the badness of his own introjected objects. The
degree of severity of his superego, the degree of anxiety it
induced in him, his feelings of guilt and inferiority, which he had
triect to placate by means of the scientific report-an intention
later thwarted- the intensity of all these factors determined the
intensity of his own hatred.
The psycho-analytic profession, as both therapeutic and
scientific work, thus held-in the cases dealt with here-the
unconscious meaning of denying or avoiding the basic depres-
sive situation, and the aim of being loved by the introjected
and projected objects, of dominating them, etc.
As a consequence of the basic depressive situation, an intense
exhibitionism is also often to be met with, as a tendency to deny
the various guilt and inferiority feelings (incest and castration,'
homosexuality, oral sadism, etc.). This exhibitionism (before the
introjected and projected objects) not only intervenes in impor-
tant aspects of the profession, as we have already seen, but also
in many small details, as, for example, the analyst's satisfaction
and the consequent heightening of his love for the patient when
the latter affords him a chance to make an interesting observa-
tion, confirm a cherished opinion, etc.
Naturally the situation of inner and outer dependence
described in this section will be met with as a rule more in the
case of a beginner in the profession than in that of an ex-
perienced analyst. But since we are dealing essentially with an
intern1 situation of a universal character, considerations regarding it
are, as said above, of general validity.

While the previous section dealt with those manifestations of

the basic depressive situation and the defences against it in
which the superego was sub-transferred on to the patient, I shall
now consider the situation where the basic conflict is lived in a
direct form with the patient. In these cases the latter becomes, in
an immediate way, a screen for the images of the introjected
See also the passive-phallic position described above. The desire that
the penis should be loved has the further significance, besides those
mentioned above, of the dmial of catration.
objects and that of the subject himself (the analyst's self-
images) and becomes, at the same time, the object of the
tendencies directed towards these images.
I have already mentioned multiple sources of the analyst's
need to be loved by the patient (feminine or masculine): the
positive and negative Oedipus complex, the corresponding
guilt-feelings, the rejection of active impulses and the conse-
quent passive desires. We may here add passive oral love on the
one hand, and oral sadism on the other, the unconscious per-
ception of which is charged with intense guilt-feelings, which in
their turn increase the need to be loved; this last situation
constitutes the core of the basic depressive conflict. If the
analyst's need for love is thwarted, the danger arises that his
capacity for objective perception concerning his patients may
be disturbed by the interference of hated archaic images; the
image of the bad mother (breast) that will not give, that eats
and robs, or the self-image of the 'vampire', etc.
Instead of the former transference or the latter projection of a
paranoid character, there may also occur a depressive confronta-
tion with this or some other self-image, or manic reactions may
come about, etc. Some examples may serve to illustrate this.
( I ) In the case of a candidate, when faced with female
patients who have repressed their sexual transference, an old
thought of his would come back to him: the woman could not
fall in love with him because he was too ugly or because he was
not instinctive enough. In this thought, in addition to the posi-
tive Oedipus complex, the homosexual conflict, and the accom-
panying guilt and inferiority feelings, there is also an expression
of the specific depressive conflict: he is ugly and hateful because
he has too much hatred (oral): he is not instinctive enough,
because he does not love enough, because he only wishes to
receive, take, rob (guilt-feelingsover oral receptivity and passiv-
ity, and above all over his oral sadism.)
(2) The oral frustration at the root of the tendencies just
mentioned leads, on the one hand, to the image of the bad,
voracious, and miserly mother, and on the other hand, to the
oral envy and the corresponding hatred. This hated image is
further strengthened by the paranoiac projection of the thieving
self-image. All this creates 'direct' countertransference dangers
of a paranoid nature, especially in cases where the patient satis-
fies those oral-sadistic tendencies that the analyst represses, as
often happens when dealing with a 'Don Juan' or a 'Vamp'.
The countertransference position as regards behaviour in money
matters is also frequently disturbed by the same factors: hatred
of avarice, of the other's 'voracity', etc.
Before furnishing an example of the above, I should like to
add at this point some general remarks on countertransference
reactions to the patient's resistances, for they are often con-
nected with the analyst's paranoid mechanisms, which have
just been described.
The resistances sometimes provoke annoyance and even
intense hatred; this will be the greater, the more helpless the
analyst feels about the problem confronting him.' This hatred
may generally be traced to his fear of failure and all that this
would mean. I t is thus the expression of the same paranoid
mechanism that we saw in the previous section, in dealing with
'indirect coun tertransference'.
The feeling often arises in the analyst that the resistance is
hatred the patient feels for him. We might think that this sensa-
tion was only an expression of the childhood equation: frus-
tration equals hatred to the frustrator. Upon reflexion we see
that that feeling reflects an objective truth. The main resistances
are a manifestation of conflicts with introjected objects which,
by reason of their frustrating nature, are feared, rejected, and
hated. Hence resistance, in one of its aspects, is hatred, to
which the analyst sometimes reacts with hatred on his part, and
so falls into a trap laid for him by his own neurosis. For the
analyst believes the patient when the latter unconsciously attri-
butes badness to him: that is to say, he believes himself to be as
bad as the patient's introjected objects, which have been pro-
jected upon him and which account for the patient's main
resistances. And he believes him because the patient has a
powerful ally within the analyst's own personality- the latter's
own bad introjected objects which hate him and which he hates.
And in the same measure an analyst may come to hate a patient
who is in intense resistance. For this resistance sometimes leads
to the analyst's being persecuted by his own superego; he
defends himself against this persecution by means of projection
of the bad introjected objects in the ego and simultaneous identi-
fication with the superego projected upon the patient, which, in
turn, leads to his feeling hatred and 'becoming angry'.
I shall now mention an example in which this reaction to
Fenichel, in his Problems of Amlytical Technique ( I 939)' says on this
point: 'Whenever one is blocked in any piece of work to which one is
devoted, one always becomes angry.' In the following lines an attempt
is made to enter into the problem that Fenichel here indicates.
resistance was added to a paranoid reaction of 'direct counter-
transference'. One of the expressions of a female patient's great
resistance was her way of talking; it gave the analyst the impres-
sion that she was reciting. I t seemed to him that by this means
she wished to appear especially refined, sensitive, and feminine,
and was trying to get him to fall in love with her so as to domi-
nate him. He felt an intense rejection of this unconscious
manoeuvre on her part. Upon analysing the rejection, he dis-
covered, among other things, that this pseudo-romantic and
deceitful part of the patient represented a part of himself, a
rejected self-image. I t was his own desire to dominate his intro-
jected and projected objects that sometimes induced him to
adopt a seeming submissiveness, and just such a comedy of
delicacy, sensitivity, and romantic goodness; it was the wolf in
sheep's clothing which he hated in himself and outside himself.
Two things should be shown by this example. Firstly, the
mechanism of anger on meeting with resistance: the resistance
was, in one aspect, the expression of her hatred of her bad inter-
nal objects which she wanted to dominate. Her hatred found an
ally in the analyst's superego, for the resistances (in threatening
the success of the analysis) also provoked in him fear of the
superego. The analyst defended himself against this superego
aggression with his hatred of the patient. Secondly, this example
illustrates 'direct' paranoid countertransference, for the hated
'wolf' in the patient was really a repressed self-image (or ten-
dency) of his own.
The patient's intense resistance represents, as a rule, a frustra-
tion for the analyst, which in itself would explain his annoyance.
But the external frustration is regularly added, as shown, to
internal frustrations of an infantile origin. I n this sense, the
analyst's feeling of annoyance with the patient is always, in part
at least, neurotic. The frustration that the patient affords us
springs from the resistances, but it is just because of them that he
comes for treatment. If we are annoyed by his resistances, we
behave (if only internally) like a doctor who is annoyed by a
physical disease, and, for instance, gets angry with the patient
when he feels that his medical skill is insufficient. I n the case of a
patient who will not take the medicine that would cure him,
it is understandable for the doctor to get angry, but not for a
psychologist to do so, for he should know that behind the refusal
of the medicine-here, behind the rejection of the analytical
rules of interpretations, etc.-there lie psychological conflicts.
The analyst's irritation is thus, partly, of an infantile nature. I t
cannot be completely avoided, but it is important to know its
origin, so that the child within the psychologist should not dis-
turb him more than can be helped, and so that the two children
-the one inside the analyst and the one inside the patient-
should not come to blows. To say this may sound like carrying
coals to Newcastle, but as these struggles never come to an end,
neither should the analysis of their origin ever be regarded as
(3) We have seen under ( I ) and (2) the basic depressive con-
flict and the paranoid defence in 'direct countertransference'. Just
as the 'bad woman', or the patient who does not love the
analyst, may evoke in him paranoid hatred or depression, the
patient who loves him sometimes evokes a mild mania; and this
-as in the above-mentioned mechanisms-in spite of the fact
that the analyst is conscious of the transference character of this
love. I n the same sense the doubt may enter his mind whether
it is really 'only transference'. The unconscious reasons for this
doubt are clear.
(4) The guilt-feelings over his own lack of love (over his
own oedipal hatred, his oral sadism, etc.) that the analyst feels
with some patients, may also lead him to a masochistic submis-
sivmss. The case referred to above (pp. I I 7-1 18) is an example
of this. With the indirect countertramference (previously de-
scribed) there was mixed the paranoid hatred of the 'direct'
type; for the analyst's unconscious, the patient was the bad
mother who frustrated him genitally, who took his father from
him, withheld the breast, hated him, consumed him orally, etc.
The guilt-feelings and need for punishment for the hatred that
this image provoked in the analyst were one of the reasons for
his submitting himself to the patient's voracity and aggression.
This also expressed itself in his behaviour as regards payment.
Thus for instance he did not charge her for the extra sessions he
gave her during her weeks of depression and even for the
regular ones he did not wish to take more than 'four cents a
session', as was revealed by a lapsus of his. I n a similar way this
analyst submitted to the oral and anal avarice of another
patient, also because of guilt-feelings over his own envy and
oedipal and oral hatred.
Thus, similarly to the situation of indirect countertransference,
we also find in direct relationship with the patient, under certain
circumstances, the same neurotic dependence, the same basic
depressive conflict, and the same defence mechanisms.

Many problems calling for further analysis arise in connexion
with the above exposition, some of which have already been
outlined. The most immediate problems are those referring to
the various consequences of neurotic countertransference. How
does it affect the analyst's understanding, his interpretations,
and his behaviour? And what consequences has it for the patient's
relationship with the analyst, especially for the re-experience of
childhood that is to be rectified? Furthermore, what deductions
could be made from the countertransference states that are
provoked by the patient as regards the latter's psychological
situations? What influence, moreover, has the analyst's life
outside his consulting-room upon his countertransference and
vice versa? What practical conclusions are to be drawn?
I n view of the length this chapter has already reached, I will
refer only briefly to some of these problems. As for the first
question, namely, the influence of countertransference upon the
analyst's understanding, we must remember, above all, what
processes this understanding is based on. H. Deutsch (1926)
diffcrentiates two components: (a) the identification of the
analyst with certain parts of the patient's ego (i.e. the im-
pulses and defences) and (b) the 'complementary attitude', or
the identification with the patient's images (according to the
fantasies of transference). Thus, if the analyst reacts, for in-
stance, with oral resentment to the avarice of a (female) patient
this does not prevent him from identifying himself intellectuully
with her defence mechanisms and object-images, and he is able
to understand that she is avaricious because for her he is a
thief (namely, her rapacious mother), but it does prevent him
from doing so emotionally, because for his feelings it is she who
has these meanings. Moreover, the countertransferenc.e is instnr-
mental in bringing to his notice a psychologicalf a t about the patient, for
his experience of frustration and his ensuing hatred make him
aware of the patient's avarice.' Nevertheless, his inner reaction
is neurotic; he is not prevented from understanding but from
reacting understandingly. T h e latter will only be possible for him
once he has analysed and overcome his situation and is able to
identify himself with the patient's ego emotionally as well.
Even the most elementary rule of keeping silent in such
1 It is mainly with this aspect -the countertransference as 'one of the
most important tools for the analyst's work'-that Heirnann deals in
her paper 'On Counter-Transference' (1950).
moments of 'irritation' is not always complied with. I n such
situations the patient often senses the analyst's aggressive feel-
ings in the content or in the formulation of the interpretation,
or in his voice, and so finds himself once again facing an archaic
object. And this time with real grounds, as it is indeed the
analyst's own archaic objects that awaken his hostility, this
being frequently the expression of his identification with these
objects, in defence against the anxiety they provoked in him.
The consequence of such happenings for the patient's trans-
ference are clear.
In the same way we may say-to vary a definition of coun-
tertransference due to F. Hann-Kende-that transference is a
function of the patient's transferences and the analyst's counter-
transferences. '
Just as the patient mentioned above perceived -even though
only unconsciously- the countertransference hatred, another
patient detected from his tone of voice the analyst's wish to
dominate and reacted with a greater repression of his positive
transference. Another became aware of the analyst's anxiety,
so that he lost confidence and increased his resistances. I t is
naturally of great importance to see and analyse the influence
of these and other expressions of countertransference upon
A special danger involved in neurotic countertransference is
what might be called countertransference induction or counter-
tran.ference grafting. By this, I mean the well-known danger of the
analyst's 'inducing' or 'grafting' his own neurosis upon the
patient. This danger also is only to be averted in the degree to
which the analyst knows hip 'personal equation', that is to say
his proneness to certain specific errors as a consequence of his
own neurosis.
The serious consequences of such mistakes which are 'in-
duced' into the patient were to be seen in the case of a patient
whom a young analyst wished to bring to an independence that
he did not possess himself, and just for this very reason. The
analyst felt he was neurotic in this respect; he had, moreover, a
neurotic ideal of independence and wanted the patient (his 'son')
In his paper 'Zur Ubertragung und Gegenubertragung in der
Psychoanalyse' F. Hann-Kende ( I 936) defines countertransference as
'a function of the transferences of the patient and of the analyst'.
'Winnicott, M. Little (loc. tit.), and M. Gitelson (1952)' deal with
the problem of analysing with the patient the countertransference situa-
tions, their causes and effects.
to achieve what he (the 'father') had been unable to. He did not
incite him directly to 'independent' living-his conscience as
an analyst would not allow of that-but, on the other hand, he
asked him certain questions. By persuading himself that they
were only questions, the analyst satisfied the demands of his
professional conscience. Yet the questions led the patient to
what the analyst desired, namely, 'independent' living, and in
this way the analyst satisfied his desires too. These questions
obeyed the same process of formation as neurotic symptoms,
being a transaction between the id, ego, and superego. These
stimuli to action only lead, as a rule, to apparent changes;
though we know it, it seems difficult for us to free ourselves
from the 'educator' within us, with all his neurotic impulses and
the corresponding ideals. The realization of our relative uncon-
sciousness as regards our own neurotic processes of counter-
transference should constitute a reason for doubly observing the
fulfilment of the rule of abstinence with respect to acting out;
and I am referring to acting out not only on the part of the
patient but also on the part of the analyst. A cure is to be
achieved- as Freud repeatedly stressed -only by overcoming
the resistances.
I should like to add a few words about the most immediate
practical conclusions that follow from this exposition. There is,
in the first place, an evident need to keep watch on the resis-
tances, regarding countertransference and the corresponding
problems. Just as in controls, in the publications of case
histories, etc., the processes of transference are given due con-
sideration, so also should the essential processes of countertrans-
ference be regarded. The need to continue didactic analysis
until the candidate has faced up squarely to his own counter-
transference neurosis has already been stressed by M. Langer
(loc. cit.) and others. The breakdown of the corresponding
resistances in the candidate will then lead to a lessening of his
neurotic dependence on his didactic analyst and so favour the
introjection of a good object. In the programmes of technical
lecture-courses, countertransference should-insofar as this has
not been carried out already-receive the attention it deserves.
One last word: Freud once said that his pupils had learnt to
bear a part of the truth about themselves. The deepening of
our knowledge of countertransference accords with this prin-
ciple. And I believe we should do well if we learnt to bear this
truth about each one of us being also known by some other
I 26
The Meanings and Uses of
Freud describes transference as both the greatest danger and
the best tool for analytic work. He refers to the work of making
the repressed past conscious. Besides these two implied mean-
ings of transference, Freud gives it a third meaning: it is in the
transference that the analysand may relive the past under better
conditions and in this way rectify pathological decisions and
destinies. Likewise three meanings of countertransference may
be differentiated. It too may be the greatest danger and at the
same time an important tool for understanding, an assistance
to the analyst in his function as interpreter. Moreover, it affects
the analyst's behaviour; it interferes with his action as object
of the patient's re-experience in the new fragment of life that is
the analytic situation, in which the patient should meet with
greater understanding and objectivity than he found in the
reality or fantasy of his childhood.
What have present-day writers to say about the problem of
Lorand (1946)writes mainly about the dangers of counter-
transference for analytic work. He also points out the import-
ance of taking countertransference reactions into account, for
they may indicate some important subject to be worked through
with the patient. He emphasizes the necessity for the analyst to
be always aware of his countertransference, and discusses speci-
fic problems such as the conscious desire to heal, the relief
analysis may afford the analyst from his own problems, and
narcissism and the interference of personal motives in clinical
matters. He also emphasizes the fact that these problems of
countertransference concern not only the candidate but also the
experienced analyst.
Winnicott ( I 949) is specificallyconcerned with 'objective and
1 Read at a meeting of the Argentine Psychoanalytic Association in
May 1953. Reprinted from Psychoaml. Quart. (1957)' 26.
a I confine myself in what follows to papers published since 1946. I
have referred to earlier literature in Chapter 5 of this volume.
justified hatred' in countertransference, particularly in the treat-
ment of psychotics. He considers how the analyst should manage
this emotion: should he, for example, bear his hatred in silence
or communicate it to the analysand? Thus Winnicott is con-
cerned with a particular countertransference reaction insofar
as it affects the behaviour of the analyst, who is the analysand's
object in his re-experience of childhood.
Heimann (1950) deals with countertransference as a tool for
understanding the analysand. The 'basic assumption is that the
analyst's unconscious understands that of his patient. This rap-
port on the deep level comes to the surface in the form of feelings
which the analyst notices in response to his patient, in his
countertransference.' This emotional response of the analyst is
frequently closer to the psychological state cf the patient than is
the analyst's conscious judgement thereof.
Little (1 95 1) discusses countertransference as a disturbance
to understanding and interpretation and as it influences the
analyst's behaviour with decisive effect upon the patient's re-
experience of his childhood. She stresses the analyst's tendency
to repeat the behaviour of the patient's parents and to satisfy
certain needs of his own, rather than those of the analysand.
Little emphasizes that one must admit one's countertransference
to the analysand and interpret it, and must do so not only in
regard to 'objective' countertransference reactions (Winnicott)
but also to 'subjective' ones.
Annie Reich (195 1) is chiefly interested in countertrans-
ference as a source of disturbances in analysis. She clarifies the
concept of countertransference and differentiates two types:
'countertransference in the proper sense' and 'the analyst's using
the analysis for acting out purposes'. She investigates the causes
of these phenomena, and seeks to understand the conditions that
lead to good, excellent, or poor results in analytic activity.
Gitelson (1952) distinguishes between the analyst's 'reactions
to the patient as a whole' (the analyst's 'transferences') and the
analyst's 'reactions to partial aspects of the patient' (the ana-
lyst's 'countertransferences'). He is concerned also with the
problems of intrusion of countertransference into the analytic
situation, and states that, in general, when such intrusion occurs
the countertransference should be dealt with by analyst and
patient working together, thus agreeing with Little.
Weigert ( I 952) favours analysis of countertransference insofar
as it intrudes into the analytic situation, and she advises,
in advanced stages of treatment, less reserve in the analyst's
I 28
behaviour and more spontaneous display of countertransfer-
In the last chapter, I discussed countertransference as a
danger to analytic work. After analysing the resistances that
still seem to impede investigation of countertransference, I
attempted to show without reserve how oedipal and preoedipal
conflicts as well as paranoid, depressive, manic, and other pro-
cesses persist in the 'countertransference neurosis' and how they
interfere with the analyst's understanding, interpretation, and
behaviour. My remarks applied to 'direct' and 'indirect' counter-
transference. '
In another paper ( I 952), I described the use of countertrans-
ference experiences for understanding psychological problems,
especially transference problems, of the analysand. In my princi-
pal points I agreed with Heimann (xgso), and emphasized the
following suggestions. (I) Countertransference reactions of great
intensity, even pathological ones, should also serve as tools.
(2) Countertransference is the expression of the analyst's identi-
fication with the internal objects of the analysand, as well as
with his id and ego, and may be used as such. (3) Countertrans-
ference reactions have specific characteristics (specific contents,
anxieties, and mechanisms) from which we may draw con-
clusions about the specific character of the psychological hap-
penings in the patient.
The present paper is intended to amplify my remarks on
countertransference as a tool for understanding the mental pro-
cesses of the patient (including especially his transference reac-
tions) -their content, their mechanisms, and their intensities.
Awareness of countertransference helps one to understand what
should be interpreted and when. This paper will also consider
the influence of countertransference upon the analyst's be-
haviour towards the analysand-behaviour that affects deci-
sively the position of the analyst as object of the re-experience of
childhood, thus affecting the process of cure.
Let us first consider briefly countertransference in the history
of psycho-analysis. We meet with a strange fact and a striking
contrast. The discovery by Freud (1910) of countertransference
and its great importance in therapeutic work gave rise to the
1 This differentiation accords in essentials with Annie Reich's two
types of countertransference. I would add, however, that also when the
analyst uses the analysis for his own acting out (what I have termed
'indirect' countertranderence), the analysand represents an object to
the analyat (a 'sub-transferred' object), not merely a 'tool'.
institution of training analysis which became the basis and
centre of psycho-analytic training. Yet countertransference re-
ceived little scientific consideration over the next forty years.
Only during the last few years has the situation changed, rather
suddenly, and countertransference has become a subject exam-
ined frequently and with thoroughness. How is one to explain
this initial recognition, this neglect, and this recent change? Is
there not reason to question the success of training analysis in
fulfilling its function if this very problem, the discovery of which
led to the creation of training analysis, has had so little scientific
These questions are clearly important, and those who have
personally witnessed a great part of the development of psycho-
analysis in the last forty years have the best right to answer
them. I will suggest only one explanation.
The lack of scientific investigation ofcountertransference must
be due to rejection by analysts of their own countertrans-
ferences-a rejection that represents unresolved struggles with
their own primitive anxiety and guilt. These struggles are
closely connected with those infantile ideals that survive because
of deficiencies in the personal analysis of just those transference
problems that later affect the analyst's countertransference.
These deficiencies in the training analysis are in turn partly due
to countertransference problems insufficiently solved in the
training analyst, as I shall show later. Thus we are in a vicious
circle; but we can see where a breach milrt be made. We must
begin by revision of our feelings about our own countertrans-
ference and try to overcome our own infantile ideals more thor-
oughly, accepting more fully the fact that we are still children
and neurotics even when we are adults and analysts. Only in
this way-by better overcoming our rejection of countertrans-
ference-can we achieve the same result in candidates.
The insufficient dissolution of these idealizations and under-
lying anxieties and guilt-feelings leads to special difficulties
when the child becomes an adult and the analysand an analyst,
for the analyst unconsciously requires of himself that he be fully
identified with these ideals. I think that it is at least partly for
this reason that the Oedipus complex of the child towards his
parents, and of the patient towards his analyst, has been so much
1 Michael Balint (1948) considen a similar problem, the scarcity of
papers on the system of psycho-analytic training. Investigation of this
problem leads him to several interesting remarks on the relationship
between training analysts and candidates. (See footnote p. I 32.)
more fully considered than that of the parents towards their
children and of the analyst towards the analysand. For the same
basic reason transference has been dealt with much more than
The fact that countertransference conflicts determine the defi-
ciencies in the analysis of transference becomes clear if we recall
that transference is the expression of the internal object rela-
tions; for understanding of transference will depend on the
analyst's capacity to identify himself both with the analysand's
impulses and defences, and with his internal objects, and to be
conscious of these identifications. This ability in the analyst will
in turn depend upon the degree to which he accepts his counter-
transference, for his countertransference is likewise based on
identification with the patient's id and ego and his internal
objects. One might also say that transference is the expression
of the patient's relations with the fantasied ;nd real counter-
transference of the analyst. For just as countertransference is
the psychological response to the analysand's real and imagin-
ary transferences, so also is transference the response to the
analyst's imaginary and real countertransferences. Analysis of
the patient's fantasies about countertransference, which in the
widest sense constitute the causes and consequences of the trans-
ferences, is an essential part of the analysis of the transferences.
Perception of the patient's fantasies regarding countertrans-
ference will depend in turn upon the degree to which the analyst
himself perceives his countertransference processes -on the
continuity and depth of his conscious contact with himself.
To summarize, the repression of countertransference (and
other pathological fates that it may meet) necessarily leads to
deficiencies in the analysis of transference, which in turn lead
to the repression and other mishandling of countertransference
as soon as the candidate becomes an analyst. I t is a heritage
from generation to generation, similar to the heritage of ideal-
izations and denials concerning the imagns of the parents, which
continue working even when the child becomes a father or
mother. The child's mythology is prolonged in the mythology
of the analytic situation, the analyst himself being partially
subject to it and collaborating unconsciously in its maintenance
in the candidate.
Before illustrating these statements, let us briefly consider one
of those ideals in its specifically psycho-analytic expression: the
1 Little (1951)speaks, for instance, of the 'myth of the impersonal
ideal of the analyst's objectivity. No one, of course, denies the
existence of subjective factors in the analyst and of counter-
transference in itself; but there seems to exist an important
difference between what is generally acknowledged in practice
and the real state of affairs. The first distortion of truth in 'the
myth of the analytic situation' is that analysis is an interaction
between a sick person and a healthy one. The truth is that it is
an interaction between two personalities, in both of which the
ego is under pressure from the id, the superego, and the external
world; each personality has its internal and external depend-
ences, anxieties, and pathological defences; each is also a child
with his internal parents; and each of these whole personalities
-that of the analysand and that of the analyst-responds to
every event of the analytic situation. Besides these similarities
between the personalities of analyst and analysand, there also
exist differences, and one of these is in 'objectivity'. The analyst's
objectivity consists mainly in a certain attitude towards his own
subjectivity and countertransference. The neurotic (obsessive)
ideal of objectivity leads to repression and blocking of subject-
ivity and so to the apparent fulfilment of the myth of the 'analyst
without anxiety or anger'. The other neurotic extreme is that of
'drowning' in the countertransference. True objectivity is based
upon a form of internal division that enables the analyst to make
himself (his own countertransference and subjectivity) the ob-
ject of his continuous observation and analysis. This position
also enableshim to be relatively 'objective' towards the analysand.
It is important to be aware of this 'equality' because there is other-
wise great danger that certain remnants of the 'patriarchal order' will
contaminate the analytic situation. The dearth of scientific study of
countertransferenceis an expression of a 'social inequality' in the analyst-
analysand society and points to the need for 'social reform'; which can
come about only through a greater awareness of countertransference.
For as long as we repress, for instance, our wish to dominate the analys-
and neurotically (and we do wish this in one part of our personality),
we cannot free him from his neurotic dependence, and as long as we
repress our neurotic dependence upon him (and we do in part depend
on him), we cannot free him from the need to dominate us neurotically.
Michael Balint (1948) compares the atmosphere of psycho-analytic
training with the initiation ceremonies of primitives and emphasizes the
existence of superego 'intropressure' (Ferenczi) which no candihte can
easily wihtand.

The term countertransference has been given various mean-
ings. They may be summarized by the statement that for some
authors countertransference includes everything that arises in
the analyst as psychological response to the analysand, whereas
for others not all this should be called countertransference.
Some, for example, prefer to reserve the term for what is in-
fantile in the relationship of the analyst with his analysand,
while others make different limitations (A. Reich (1951)and
Gitelson (1952)). Hence efforts to differentiate from each other
certain of the complex phenomena of countertransference
lead to confusion or to unproductive discussions of terminology.
Freud invented the term countertransference in evident analogy
with transference, which he defined as reimpressions or re-
editions of childhood experiences, including greater or lesser
modifications of the original experience. Hence one frequently
uses the term transference for the totality of the psychological
attitude of the analysand towards the analyst. We know, to be
sure, that real external qualities of the analytic situation in
general and of the analyst in particular have an important in-
fluence on the relationship of the analysand with the analyst,
but we also know that all these present factors are experienced
according to the past and the fantasy-according, that is to
say, to a transference predisposition. As determinants of the
transference neurosis and, in general, of the psychological situa-
tion of the analysand towards the analyst, we have both the
transference predisposition and the present real and especially
analytic experiences, the transference in its diverse expressions
being the result of these two factors.
Analogously, in the analyst there are the countertransference
predisposition and the present real, and especially analytic,
experiences; and the countertransference is the result. It is
precisely this fusion of present and past, the continuous and in-
timate connexion of reality and fantasy, of external and internal,
conscious and unconscious, that demands a concept embracing
the totality of the analyst's psychological response, and renders
it advisable, at the same time, to keep for this totality of response
the accustomed term 'countertransference'. Where it is neces-
sary for greater clarity one might speak of 'total countertrans-
ference' and then differentiate and separate within it one aspect
or another. One of its aspects consists precisely in what is tram-
ferrtd in countertransference; this is the part that originates in
an earlier time and that is especially the infantile and primitive
part within total countertransference. Another of these aspccrs
-closely connected with the previous one-is what is neurotic
in countertransference; its main characteristics are the unreal
anxiety and the pathological defences. Under certain circum-
stances one may also speak of a countertransference neurosis,
which I have discussed in the previous chapter.
T o clarify better the concept of countertransference, one
might start from the question of what happens, in general terms,
in the analyst in his relationship with the patient. The first
answer might be: everything happens that can happen in one
personality faced with another. But this says so much that it
says hardly anything. We take a step,forward by bearing in
mind that in the analyst there is a tendency that normally pre-
dominates in his relationship with the patient: it is the tendency
pertaining to his function of being an analyst, that of under-
standing what is happening in the patient. Together with this
tendency there exist towards the patient virtually all the other
possible tendencies, fears, and other feelings that one person
may have towards another. The intention to understand creates
a certain predisposition, a predisposition to identify oneself with
the analysand, which is the basis of comprehension. The analyst
may achieve this aim by identifying his ego with the patient's
ego or, to put it more clearly although with a certain termin-
ological inexactitude, by identifying each part of his personality
with the corresponding psychological part in the patient-his
id with the patient's id, his ego with the ego, his superego with
the superego, accepting these identifications in his conscious-
ness. But this does not always happen, nor is it all that happens.
Apart from these identifications, which might be called concord-
ant (or homologous) identijcations, there exist also highly important
identifications of the analyst's ego with the patient's internal
objects, for example, with the superego. Adapting an expression
from Helene Deutsch, they might be called complementary identi-
jcations.1 We will consider these two kinds of identification and
their destinies later. Here we may add the following notes.
( I ) The concordant identification is based on introjection
and projection, or, in other terms, on the resonance of the exter-
ior in the interior, on recognition of what belongs to another as
one's own ('this part of you is 1') and on the equation of what is
one's own with what belongs to another ('this part of me is
1 Helene Deutsch ( I 926) speaks of the 'complementary attitude' when
she refers to the analyst's identifications with the object imagos.
you'). The processes inherent in the complementary identifica-
tions are the same, but they refer to the patient's objects. The
greater the conflicts between the parts of the analyst's person-
ality, the greater are his difficulties in carrying out the con-
cordant identifications in their entirety.
(2) The complementary identifications are produced by the
fact that the patient treats the analyst as an internal (projected)
object, and in consequence the analyst feels treated as such; that.*
is, he identifies himself with this object. The complementary
identifications are closely connected with the destiny of the con-
cordant identifications: it seems that to the degree to which the
analyst fails in the concordant identifications and rejects them
certain complementary identifications become intensified. It is
clear that rejection of a part or tendency in the analyst himself,
-his aggressiveness, for instance-may lead to a rejection of
the patient's aggressiveness (whereby this concordant identifica-
tion fails) and that such a situation leads to a greater com-
plementary identification with the patient's rejecting object,
towards which this aggressive impulse is directed.
(3) Current usage applies the term 'countertransference' to
the complementary identifications only; that is to say, to those
psychological processes in the analyst by which, because he feels
treated as, and partially identifies himself with, an internal ob-
ject of the patient, the patient becomes an internal (projected)
object of the analyst. Usually excluded from the concept of
countertransference are the concordant identifications- those
psychological contents that arise in the analyst by reason of the
empathy achieved with the patient and that really reflect and
reproduce the latter's psychological contents. Perhaps it would
be best to follow this usage, but there are some circumstances
that make it unwise to do so. In the first place, some authors
include the concordant identifications in the concept of counter-
transference. One is thus faced with the choice of entering upon
a terminological discussion or of accepting the term in this
wider sense. I think that for various reasons the wider sense is
to be preferred. If one considers that the analyst's concordant
identifications (his 'understandings') are a sort of reproduction
of his own past processes, especially of his own infancy, and that
this reproduction or re-experience is carried out as response to
stimuli from the patient, one will be more ready to include the
concordant identificationsin the concept of countertransference.
Moreover, the concordant identifications are closely connected
with the complementary ones (and thus with 'countertrans-
ference' in the popular sense), and this fact renders advisable a
differentiation but not a total separation of the terms. Finally,
it should be borne in mind that the disposition to empathy-
that is, to concordant identification-springs largely from the
sublimated positive countertransference, which likewise relates
empathy with countertransference in the wider sense. All this
suggests, then, the acceptance of countertransference as the
totality of the analyst's psychological response to the patient. If
we accept this broad definition of countertransference, the
difference between its two aspects mentioned above must still
be defined. On the one hand we have the analyst as subject and
the patient as object of knowledge, which in a certain sense
annuls the 'object relationship', properly speaking; and there
arises in its stead the approximate union or identity between
the various parts (experiences, impulses, defences),of the subject
and the object. The aggregate of the processes pertaining to
that union might be designated, where necessary, 'concordant
countertransference'. On the other hand we have an object
relationship very like many others, a real 'transference' in which
the analyst 'repeats' previous experiences, the patient represent-
ing internal objects of the analyst. The aggregate of these exper-
iences, which also exist always and continually, might be termed
'complementary countertransference'.
A brief example may be opportune here. Consider a patient
who threatens the analyst with suicide. In such situations there
sometimes occurs rejection of the concordant identifications by
the analyst and an intensification of his identification with the
threatened object. The anxiety that such a threat can cause the
analyst may lead to various reactions or defence mechanisms
within him-for instance, annoyance with the patient. This-
his anxiety and annoyance-would be contents of the 'com-
plementary countertransference'. The perception of his annoy-
ance may, in turn, generate guilt-feelings in the analyst and these
lead to desires for reparation and to intensification of the 'con-
cordant' identification and 'concordant' countertransference.
Moreover, these two aspects of 'total countertransference'
have their analogy in transference. Sublimated positive trans-
ference is the main and indispensable motive force for the
patient's work; it does not in itself constitute a technical prob-
lem. Transference becomes a 'subject', according to Freud
1 In view of the close conncxion between these two aspects of counter-
transference, this differentiation is somewhat artificial. Its introduction
is justifiable only in the circumstances I have mentioned.
( Ig 12, I g I 3), mainly when 'it becomes resistance', when,
because of resistance, it has become sexual or negative. Analo-
gously, sublimated positive countertransference is the main and
indispensable motive force in the analyst's work (disposing him
to the continued concordant identification), and countertrans-
ference also becomes a technical problem or 'subject' mainly
when it becomes sexual or negative. And this occurs (to an
intense degree) principally as a resistance-in this case, the
analyst's -that is to say, as counterresistance.
This leads to the problem of the dynamics of countertrans-
ference. We may already discern that the three factors desig-
nated by Freud as determinant in the dynamics of transference
(the impulse to repeat infantile clichtsof experience, the libidinal
need, and resistance) are also decisive for the dynamics of
countertransference. I shall return to this later.
Every transference situation provokes a countertransference
situation, which arises out of the analyst's identification of him-
self with the analysand's (internal) objects (that is the 'com-
plementary countertransference'). These countertransference
situations may be repressed or emotionally blocked but prob-
ably they cannot be avoided; certainly they should not be
avoided if full understanding is to be achieved. These counter-
transference reactions are governed by the laws of the general
and individual unconscious. Among these the law of talion is
especially important. Thus, for example, every positive trans-
ference situation is answered by a positive countertransference;
to every negative transference there responds, in one part of the
analyst, a negative countertransference. I t is of great importance
that the analyst be conscious of this law, for awareness of it is
fundamental to avoid 'drowning' in the countertransference. If
he is not aware of it he will not be able to avoid entering into
the vicious circle of the analysand's neurosis, which will hinder
or even prevent the work of therapy.
A simplified example: if the patient's neurosis centres on a
conflict with his introjected father, he will project the latter upon
the analyst and treat him as his father; the analyst will feel
treated as such-he will feel treated badly-and he will react
internally, in a part of his personality, in accordance with the
treatment he receives. If he fails to be aware of this reaction, his
behaviour will inevitably be affected by it, and he will renew the
situations that, to a greater or lesser degree, helped to establish
the analysand's neurosis. Hence it is of the greatest importance
that the analyst develop within himself an ego observer c,f his
countertransfcrence reactions, which are, naturally, con1inuous.
Perception of thcsc countertrnnsfrrence reactions will help him
to become conscious of the continuous transference situations
of the patient and interpret them rather than bc unconscioutly
ruled by these reactions, as not infrequently happens. A wcll-
known example is the 'revengeful silence' of 111c analyst. If the
analyst is unaware of these rrnctions there is danger that the
patient will have to repcat, in his transft rcllce experirnce, the
vicious circle brough~atlout by the projection and introjection
of 'bad objects' (in reality ncurotic oncs) and the consequent
pathological anxictics and defences; but transference in terprcta-
tions made possible by the analyst's awareness of his counter-
transference experience make it possible to opcn important
breaches in this vicious circle.
T o return to the previous cxamplc: if the analyst is conscious
of what the projection of the father-imago upon him provokes
in his own countcrtransfercncc, he can more easily make the
patient conscious of this projcction and the consequent mechan-
isms. Interpretatioil of rhcsc mcchanisms will show the patient
that the present reality is not identical with liis inner percep-
tions (for, if it were, tlle analyst would not interpret and othcr-
wise act as an analyst); the patient thcn inrrojects a reality
better than his inner world. This sort of rectification does not
take place when the analyst is under the sway of his unconscious
Let us consider some applications of these principles. T o return
to the question of what the analyst does during the session and
what happens within him, one might reply, a t first thought,
that the analyst listens. But this is not completely true: he
listens most of the time, or wishes to listen, but is not invariably
doing so. Ferenczi (1919)refers to this fact and expresses the
opinion that the analyst's distractability is of little importance,
for the patient at such moments must certainly be in resistance.
Ferenczi's remark sounds like an echo from the era when the
analyst was mainly interested in the repressed impulses, because
now that we attempt to analyse resistance, the patient's mani-
festations of resistance are as significant as any other of his
productions. At any rate, Ferenczi here refers to a counter-
transference response and deduces from it the analysand's
'. .
psychological situation. H e says . we have unconsciously
reacted to the emptiness and futility of the associations just
I 38
presented by the withdrawal of conscious excitation'. The situa-
tion might be describcd as one of mutual withdrawal. The
analyst's withdrawal is a response to the analysand's with-
drawal, which, however, is a response to an imagined or real
psychological position of the analyst. If we have withdrawn-if
we are not listening but are thinking of something else-we
may utilize this event in the service of the analysis like any other
information we acquire. And the guilt we may feel over such a
withdrawal is just as utilizable analytically as any other counter-
transference reaction. Ferenczi's next words, 'the danger of the
doctor falling asleep .. . is not great because we awake at the
first idea that in any way concerns the treatment', are clearly
intended to placate this guilt. But better than to allay the
analyst's guilt would be to use it to promote the analysis, and
indeed so to use the guilt would be the best way of alleviating it.
In fact, we encounter here a cardinal problem of the relation
between transference and countertransference, and of the thera-
peutic process in general. For the analyst's withdrawal is only
an example of how the unconscious of one person responds to
the unconscious of another. This response seems in part to be
governed, insofar as we identify ourselves with the unconscious
objects of the analysand, by the law of talion; and, insofar as
this law unconsciously influences the analyst, there'is danger of
a vicious circle of reactions between them, for the analysand
also responds 'talionically' in his turn, and so on without end.
Looking more closely, we see that the 'talionic response' or
'identification with the aggressor' (the frustrating patient) is a
complex process. Such a psychological process in the analyst
usually starts with a feeling of displeasure or of some anxiety as
a response to this aggression (frustration) and, because of this
feeling, the analyst identifies himself with the 'aggressor'. By the
term 'aggressor' we must designate not only the patient but also
some internal object of the analyst (especially his own superego
or an internal persecutor) now projected upon the patient. This
identification with the aggressor, or persecutor, causes a feeling
of guilt; probably it always does so, although awareness of the
guilt may be repressed. For what happens is, on a small scale,
a process of melancholia, just as Freud described it: the object
has to some degree abandoned us; we identify ourselves with the
lost object; and then we accuse the introjected 'bad' object-in
It is a partial abandonment and it is a threat of abandonment. The
object that threatens to abandon us and the persecutor are basically the
* 39
other words, we have guilt-feelings. This may be sensed in
Ferenczi's remark quoted above, in which mechanisms are a t
work designed to protect the analyst against these guilt-feclings:
denial of guilt ('the danger is not great') and a certain accusa-
tion against the analysand for the 'emptiness' and 'futility' of his
associations. In this way a vicious circle-a kind of paranoid
ping-pong-has entered into the analytic situation.'
Two situations offrequent occurrence illustrate both the com-
plementary and the concordant identifications and the vicious
circle these situations may cause.
( I ) One transference situation of regular occurrence consists
in the patient's seeing in the analyst his own superego. The
analyst identifies himself with the id and ego of the patient and
with the patient's dependence upon his superego; and he also
identifies himself with this same superego-a situation in which
the patient places him-and experiences in this way the dom-
ination of the superego over the patient's ego. The relation of
the ego to the superego is, a t bottom, a depressive and paranoid
situation; the relation of the superego to the ego is, on the same
plane, a manic one insofar as this term may be used to designate
the dominating, controlling, and accusing attitude of the super-
ego towards the ego. I n this sense we may say, broadly speaking,
that to a 'depressive-paranoid' transference in the analysand
there corresponds-as regards the complementary identifica-
tion-a 'manic' countertransference in the analyst. This, in
turn, may entail various fears and guilt-feelings, to which I shall
refer later. a
(2) When the patient, in defence against this situation, identi-
fies himself with the superego, he may place the analyst in the
situation of the dependent and incriminated ego. The analyst
will not only identify himself with this position of the patient;
he will also experience the situation with the content the patient
gives it: he will feel subjugated and accused, and may react to
some degree with anxiety and guilt. T o a 'manic' transference
1 The process described by Ferenczi has an even deeper meaning. The
'emptiness' and 'futility' of the associations express the empty, futile,
dead part of the analysand; they characterize a depressive situation in
which the analysand is alone and abandoned by his objects, just as has
happened in the analytic situation.
Cesio (1952)demonstrates in a case report the principal counter-
transference reactions that arose in the course of the psycho-analytic
treatment, pointing out especially the analyst's partial identifications
with objects of the patient's superego.
situation (of the type called 'mania for reproaching') there cor-
responds, then-as regards the complementary identification-
a 'depressive-paranoid' countertransference situation.
The analyst will normally experience these situations with
only a part of his being, leaving another part free to take note
of them in a way suitable for the treatment. Perception of such
a countertransference situation by the analyst and his under-
standing of it as a psychological response to a certain trans-
ference situation will enable him the better to grasp the transfer-
ence at the precise moment when it is active. I t is precisely these
situations and the analyst's behaviour regarding them, and in
particular his interpretations of them, that are of decisive impor-
tance for the process of therapy, for they are the moments when
the vicious circle within which the neurotic habitually moves
-by projecting his inner world outside and reintrojecting this
same world-is or is not interrupted. Moreover, a t these deci-
sive points the vicious circle may be re-enforced by the analyst,
if he is unaware of having entered it.
A brief example: an analysand repeats with the analyst his
'neurosis of failure', closing himself up to every interpretation
or repressing it a t once, reproaching the analyst for the useless-
ness of the analysis, foreseeing nothing better in the future, con-
tinually declaring his complete indifference to everything. The
analyst interprets the patient's position towards him, and its
origins, in its various aspects. He shows the patient his defence
against the danger of becoming too dependent, of being aban-
doned, or being tricked, or of suffering counter-aggression by
the analyst, if he abandons his armour and indifference towards
the analyst. H e interprets to the patient his projection of bad
internal objects and his subsequent sado-masochistic behaviour
in the transference; his need of punishment; his triumph and
'masochistic revenge' against the transferred parents; his defence
against the 'depressive position' by means of schizoid, paranoid,
and manic defences (Melanie Klein); and he interprets the
patient's rejection of a bond which in the unconscious has a
homosexual significance. But it may happen that all these inter-
pretations, in spite of being directed to the central resistance and
connected with the transference situation, suffer the same fate
for the same reasons: they fall into the 'whirl in a void' (Leerlauf)
of the 'neurosis of failure'. Now the decisive moments arrive.
The analyst, subdued by the patient's resistance, may begin
to feel anxious over the possibility of failure and feel angry with
the patient. When this occurs in the analyst, the patient feels it
coming, for his own 'aggressiveness' and other reactions have
provoked it; consequently he fears the analyst's anger. If the
analyst, threatened by failure, or, to put it more precisely,
threatened by his own superego or by his own archaic objects
which have found an 'agent provocateur' in the patient, acts under
the influence of these internal objects and of his paranoid and
depressive anxieties, the patient again finds himself confronting
a reality like that of his real or fantasied childhood experiences
and like that of his inner world; and so the vicious circle con-
tinues and may even be re-enforced. But if the analyst grasps
the importance of this situation, if, through his own anxiety or
anger, he comprehends what is happening in the analysand, and
if he overcomes, thanks to the new insight, his negative feelings
and interprets what has happened in the analysand, being now
in this new positive countertransference situation, then he may
have made a breach-be it large or small-in the vicious circle
(see Example 8 on pp. I 56- I 59 below).

MTehave considered thus far the relation of transference and

countertransference in the analytic process. Now let us look
more closely into the phenomena of countertransference. Coun-
tertransference experiences may be divided into two classes. One
might be designated 'countertransference thoughts'; the other
'countertransference positions'. The example just cited may
serve as illustration of this latter class; the essence of this example
lies in the fact that the analyst feels anxiety and is angry with the
analysand- that is to say, he is in a certain countertransference
'position'. As an example of the other class we may take the
At the start of a session an analysand wishes to pay his fees.
He gives the analyst a thousand-peso note and asks for change.
The analyst happens to have his money in another room and
goes out to fetch it, leaving the thousand pesos upon his desk.
During the time between leaving and returning, the fantasy
occurs to him that the analysand will take back the money and
say that the analyst took it away with him. On his return he finds
the thousand pesos where he had left it. When the account has
been settled, the analysand lies down and tells the analyst that
when he was left alone he had fantasies of keeping the money,
of kissing the note goodbye, and so on. The analyst's fantasy was
based upon what he already knew of the patient, who in previ-
ous sessions had expressed a strong disinclination to pay his fees.
The identity of the analyst's fantasy and the patient's fantasy of
keeping the money may be explained as springing from a con-
nexion between the two unconsciouses, a connexion that might
be regarded as a 'psychological symbiosis' between the two
personalities. To the analysand's wish to take money from him
(already expressed on previous occasions) the analyst reacts by
identifying himself both with this desire and with the object
towards which the desire is directed; hence arises his fantasy of
being robbed. For these identifications to come about there
must evidently exist a potential identity. One may presume that
every possible psychological constellation in the patient also
exists in the analyst, and the constellation that corresponds
to the patient's is brought into play in the analyst. A sym-
biosis results, and now thoughts occur spontaneously in the
analyst corresponding to the psychological constellation in the
In fantasies of the type just described and in the example of
the analyst angry with his patient, we are dealing with identi-
fications with the id, with the ego, and with the objects of the
analysand; in both cases, then, it is a matter of countertrans-
ference reactions. However, there is an important difference
between one situation and the other, and this difference seems
not to lie only in the emotional intensity. Before elucidating this
difference, I should like to emphasize that the countertrans-
ference reaction that appears in the last example (the fantasy
about the thousand pesos) should also be used as a means to
further the analysis. It is, moreover, a typical example of those
'spontaneous thoughts' to which Freud and others refer in ad-
vising the analyst to keep his attention 'floating' and in stressing
the importance of these thoughts for understanding the patient.
The countertransference reactions exemplified by the story of
the thousand pesos are characterized by the fact that they
threaten no danger to the analyst's objective attitude of ob-
server. Here the danger is rather that the analyst will not pay
sufficient attention to these thoughts or will fail to use them for
understanding and interpretation. The patient's corresponding
ideas are not always conscious, nor are they always communi-
cated as they were in the example cited. But from his own
countertransference 'thoughts' and feelings the analyst may
guess what is repressed or rejected. It is important to recall once
more our usage of the term 'countertransference', for many
writers, perhaps the majority, mean by it not these thoughts
of the analyst but rather that other class of reactions, the
'courltertransference positions'. This is one reason why it is
useful to differentiate these two kinds of reaction.
The outstanding difference between the two lies in the degree
to which the ego is involved in the experience, I n one case the
reactions are experienced as thoughts, free associations, or fan-
tasies, with no great emotional intensity and frequently as if
they were somewhat foreign to the ego. I n the other case, the
analyst's ego is involved in the countertransference experience,
and the experience is felt by him with great intensity and as
true reality, and there is danger of his 'drowning' in this experi-
ence. I n the former example of the analyst who gets angry
because of the analysand's resistances, the analysand is felt as
really bad by one part of the analyst ('countertransference
position'), although the latter does not express his anger. Now
these two kinds of countertransference reaction differ, I believe,
because they have different origins. The reaction experienced
by the analyst as thought or fantasy arises from the existence of
an analogous situation in the analysand-that is, from his readi-
ness in perceiving and communicating his inner situation (as
happens in the case of the thousand pesos) -whereas the reac-
tion experienced with great intensity, even as reality, by the
analyst, arises from acting out by the analysand (as in the case of
the 'neurosis of failure'). Undoubtedly there is also in the
analyst, himself, afactor that helps to determine this difference.
The analyst has, it seems, two ways of responding. H e may
respond to some situations by perceiving his reactions, while to
others he responds by acting out (alloplastically or autoplastic-
ally). Which type of response occurs in the analyst depends
partly on his own neurosis, on his inclination to anxiety, on his
defence mechanisms, and especially on his tendencies to repeat
(act out) instead of making conscious. Here we encounter a
factor that determines the dynamics of countertransference. I t
is the one Freud emphasized as determining the special intensity
of transference in analysis, and it is also responsible for the
special intensity of countertransference.
Let us consider for a moment the dynamics of counter-
transference. The great intensity of certain countertransference
reactions is to be explained by the existence in the analyst of
pathological defences against the increase of archaic anxieties
and unresolved inner conflicts. Transference, I believe, becomes
intense not only because it serves as a resistance to remember-
ing, as Freud says, but also because it serves as a defence against
a danger within the transference experience itself. I n other
words, the 'transference resistance' is frequently a repetition of
defences that must be intensified lest a catastrophe be repeated in
transference (Chapter 3). The same is true of countertrans-
ference. It is clear that these catastrophes are related to becom-
ing aware of certain aspects of one's own instincts. Take, for
instance, the analyst who becomes anxious and inwardly angry
over the intense masochism of the analysand within the analytic
situation. Such masochism frequently rouses old paranoid and
depressive anxieties and guilt-feelings in the analyst, who, faced
with the aggression directed by the patient against his own
ego, and faced with the effects of this aggression, finds him-
selfin his unconscious confronted anew with his early crimes. I t
is often just these childhood conflicts of the analyst, with their
aggression, that led him into this profession in which he tries to
repair the objects of the aggression and to overcome or deny
his guilt. Because of the patient's strong masochism, this
defence, which consists of the analyst's therapeutic action, fails
and the analyst is threatened with the return of the catas-
trophe, the encounter with the destroyed object. In this way
the intensity of the 'negative countertransference' (the anger
with the patient) usually increases because of the failure of
the countertransference defence (the therapeutic action) and the
analyst's subsequent increase of anxiety over a catastrophe
in the countertransference experience (the destruction of the
This example also illustrates another aspect of the dynamics
of countertransference. In Chapter 3, I show that the 'abolition
of rejectiony1in analysis determines the dynamics of transference
and, in particular, the intensity of the transference of the 'reject-
ing' internal objects (in the first place, of the superego). The
'abolition of rejection' begins with the communication of 'spon-
taneous' thoughts. The analyst, however, makes no such com-
munication to the analysand, and here we have an important
difference between his situation and that of the analysand and
between the dynamics of transference and those of counter-
transference. However, this difference is not so great as might
be at first supposed, for two reasons: first, because it is not
necessary that the free associations be expressed for projections
and transferences to take place, and second, because the analyst
communicates certain associations of a personal nature even
By 'abolition of rejection' I mean adherence by the analysand to the
fundamental rule that all his thoughts art to be expressed without
selection or rejection.
when he does not seem to do so. These communica:ions begin,
one might say, with the plate on the front door tha.t says
'Psychoanalyst' or 'Doctor'. What motive (in terms of the un-
conscious) would the analyst have for wanting to cure if it were
not he who made the patient ill? I n this way the patient is
already, simply by being a patient, the creditor, the accuser, the
'superego' of the analyst; and the analyst is his debtor.

The examples that follow illustrate the various kinds, mean-

ings and uses of countertransference reaction. First I describe
situations in which the countertransference is of too little inten-
sity to drag the analyst's ego along with it; next, some situations
in which there is an intense countertransference reaction deeply
involving the ego; and finally, some examples in which the
repression of countertransference prevents comprehcnsion of
the analysand's situation at the critical moment.
( I ) A woman patient asked the analyst whether it was true
that another analyst named N had become separated from his
wife and married again. I n the associations that followed she
refcrred repeatedly to N's first wife. The idea occurred to the
analyst that the patient would also like to know who N's second
wife was and that she probably wondered whether the second
wife was a patient of N. The analyst further supposed that his
patient (considering her present transference situation) was
wondering whether her own analyst might not also separate
from his wife and marry her. I n accordance with this suspicion
but taking care not to suggest anything, the analyst askcd
whether she was thinking anything about N's second wife. The
analysand answered, laughing, 'Yes, I was wondering whether
she was not one of his patients.' Analysis of the analyst's psycho-
logical situation showed that his 'spontaneous thought' was
possible because his identification with the patient in her oedi-
pal desires was not blocked by repression, and also because he
himself countertransferred his own positive oedipal impulses,
accepted by his conscious, upon the patient.
This example shows how, in the analyst's 'spontaneous
thoughtsy-which enable him to attain a deeper understanding
-there intervenes not only the sublimated positive counter-
transference that permits his identification with the id and the
ego of the patient but also the (apparently absent) 'complement-
ary countertransference'-that is, his identification with the
internal objects that the patient transfers and the acceptance in
his conscious of his own infantile object relations with the
(2) I n the following example the 'spontaneous thoughts',
which are manifestly dependent upon the countertransference
situation, constitute the guide to understanding.
A woman candidate associated about a scientific meeting at
the Psychoanalytic Institute, the first she had attended. While
she was associating, it occurred to the analyst that he, unlike
most of the other training analysts, did not participate in the
discussion. He felt somewhat vexed, thinking that the analysand
must have noticed this, and perceiving in himself some fear that
she consequently regarded him as inferior. He realized that he
would prefer her not to think this and not to mention the
occurrence; for this very reason, he pointed out to the analysand
that she was rejecting thoughts concerning him in relation to the
meeting. The analysand's reaction shows the importance of
this interpretation. She exclaimed in surprise: 'Of course, I
almost forgot to tell you.' She then produced many associations
related to transference which she had previously rejected for
reasons corresponding to the countertransference rejection of
these same ideas by the analyst. The example showed the im-
portance of observation of countertransference as a technical
tool; it also showed a relation between a transference resistance
and a countertransference resistance.
(3) O n shaking hands at the 'beginning of the session the
analyst, noticing that the patient was depressed, experienced a
slight sense of guilt. The analyst a t once thought of the last
session, in which he frustrated the patient. He knew where the
depression came from, even before the patient's associations led
him to the same conclusion. Observation of the countertrans-
ference ideas, before and after the sessions, may also be an import-
ant guide for the analyst in understanding the patient's analytic
situation. For instance, if a feeling of annoyance before entering
the consulting-room is a countertransference response to the
patient's aggressive or domineering behaviour, the annoyance
may enable the analyst to understand beforehand the patient's
anxiety whi,ch, at the most superficial layer, is fear of the
analyst's anger provoked by the patient's behaviour. Another
instance occurs in the analyst who, before entering his consult-
ing-room, perceived a feeling ofguilt over being late; he realized
that he often kept this patient waiting and that it was the
pa~ient's pronounced masochistic submission that especially
prompted him to this frustrating behaviour. In other words,
the analyst responded to the strong repression of aggression in
the patient by doing what he pleased and abusing the patient's
neurosis. But this very temptation that the analyst felt and
yielded to in his behaviour, and the fleeting guilt-feelings he
experienced for this reason, could serve as a guide for him to
comprehend the analysand's transference situation.
(4) The following example from analytic literature likewise
shows how the countertransference situation makes it possible
to understand the patient's analytic situation in a way decisive
for the whole subsequent course of the treatment. It is interest-
ing to remark that the author seems unaware that the fortunate
understanding is due to an unconscious grasp of the counter-
transference situation. I refer to the 'case with manifest in-
feriority feelings' published by Wilhelm Reich (1933). After
showing how, for a long period, no interpretation achieved any
success or any modification of the patient's analytic situation,
Reich writes:
I then interpreted to him his inferiority feelings towards me;
at first this was unsuccessful but after I had persistently shown him
his conduct for several days, he presented some communications
referring to his tremendous envy not of me but of other men, to
whom he also felt inferior. And then there emerged in me, like
a lightning flash, the idea that his repeated complaints could mean
only this: 'The analysis has no effect upon me-it is no good, the
analyst is inferior and impotent and can achieve nothing with
me.' The complaints were to be understood partly as triumph and
partly as reproaches to the analyst.
If we inquire into the origin of Reich's 'lightning idea', the
reply must be, theoretically, that it arose from identification
with those impulses in the analysand or from identification with
one of his internal objects. The description of the event, how-
ever, leaves little room for doubt that the latter, the 'com-
plementary countertransference', was the source of Reich's
intuition-that this lightning understanding arose from his
own feeling of impotence, defeat, and guilt over the failure of
(5) Now a case in which repression of the countertrans-
ference prevented the analyst from understanding the trans-
ference situation, while his later becoming conscious of the
countertransference was precisely what brought this under-
For several days a patient had suffered from intense anxiety
and stomach-ache. The analyst did not understand the situa-
tion until she asked the patient when it first began. He answered
that it went back to a moment when he bitterly criticized her for
certain behaviour, and added that he had noticed that she had
been rather depressed of late. What the patient said hit the nail
on the head. The analyst had in truth felt somewhat depressed
because of this aggression in the patient. But she had repressed
her aggression against the patient that underlay her depression
and had repressed awareness that the patient would also think,
consciously or unconsciously, of the effect of his criticism. The
patient was conscious of this and therefore connected his own
anxieties and symptoms with the analyst's depression. I n other
words, the analyst scotomatized the connexion between the
patient's anxiety and pain and the aggression (criticism) per-
petrated against her. This scotomatization of the transference
situation was due to repression of the countertransference, for
the aggression that the patient suspected in the analyst, and to
which he responded with anxiety and gastric pains (self-aggres-
sion in anticipation), existed not only in his fantasy but also in
the analyst's actual countertransference feelings.
The danger of the countertransference being repressed is
naturally the greater the more these countertransference reac-
tions are rejected by the ego ideal or the superego. T o take, for
instance, the case of a patient with an almost complete lack of
'respect' for the analyst: it may happen that the analyst's narcis-
sism is wounded and he reacts inwardly with some degree of
annoyance. If he represses this annoyance because it ill accords
with the demands of his ego ideal, he deprives himself of an im-
portant guide in understanding the patient's transference; for
the patient seeks to deny the distance between his internal
(idealized) objects and his ego by means of his manic mechan-
isms, trying to compensate his inferiority feelings by behaviour
'as between equals' (in reality inverting this situation with the
idealized objects by identification with them) and defending
himself in this way against conflict situations of the greatest
importance. In like manner, sexual excitement in the analyst
may point to hidden seductive behaviour and erotomanic fan-
tasies in the analysand as well as to the situations underlying
these. Repression of such countertransference reactions may
prevent access to the appropriate technique. What is advisable,
for instance, when the patient exhibits this sort of hypomanic
behaviour is not merely analytic 'tolerance' (which may be in-
tensified by guilt-feeling over the countertransference reactions),
but, as the first step, making the patient conscious of the counter-
transference reactions of his own internal objects, such as the
superego. For just as the analyst reacted with annoyance to the
almost total 'lack of respect' in the patient, so also do the
patient's internal objects; for in the patient's behaviour there is
aggressiveness against these internal objects which the patient
once experienced as superior and as rejecting. In more general
terms, I should say that patients with certain hypomanic
defences tend to regard their conduct as 'natural' and 'spon-
taneous' and the analyst as 'tolerant' and 'understanding',
repressing at the same time the rejecting and intolerant objects
latently projected upon the analyst. If the analyst does not
repress his deeper reactions to the analysand's associations and
behaviour, they will afford him an excellent guide for showing
the patient these same repressed objects of his and the relation-
ship in which he stands towards them.
(6) In analysis we must take into account the total counter-
transference as well as the total transference. I refer, in particu-
lar, to the importance of paying attention not only to what has
existed and is repeated but also to what has never existed (or
has existed only as a hope), that is to say, to the new and speci-
fically analytic factors in the situations of analysand and analyst.
Outstanding among these are the real new characteristics of this
object (of analyst or of analysand) ,the patient-doctor situation
(the intention to be cured or to cure, to be restored or to
restore), and the situation created by psycho-analytic thought
and feeling (as, for instance, the situation created by the funda-
mental rule, that original permission and invitation, the basic
expression of a specific atmosphere of tolerance and freedom).
Let us illustrate briefly what is meant by 'total transference'.
During a psycho-analytic session, the associations of a man,
under treatment by a woman analyst, concerned his relatior~s
with women. He told of the frustrations and rejection he had
endured, and his inability to form relationships with women of
culture. There appeared sadisticand debasing tendencies towards
women. It was clear that the patient was transferring his frus-
trating and rejccting imagos upon the analyst, and from these
had arisen his mistrust of her. The patient was actually ex-
pressing both his fear of being rejected by the analyst on account
of his sadism (deeper: his fear of destroying her and of her
retaliation) and, at bottom, his fear of being frustrated by her
-a situation that in the distant past gave rise to this sadism.
Such an interpretation would be a faithful reflection of the
transference situation properly speaking. But in the total analy-
tic situation there is something more. Evidently the patient
needed and was seeking something through the session as such.
What was it? What was this specific present factor, what was
this prospective aspect, so to speak, of the transference situation?
The answer is virtually contained in the interpretation given
above: the analysand was seeking to connect himself with an
object emotionally and libidinally, the previous sessions having
awakened his feelings and somewhat disrupted his armour;
indirectly he was asking the analyst whether he might indeed
place his trust in her, whether he might surrender himself with-
out running the risk of suffering what he had suffered before.
The first interpretation referred to the transference only as a
repetition of what had once existed; the latter, more complete,
interpretation referred to what has existed and also to what has
never existed and was hoped for from the analytic experience.
Now let us study an example that refers to both the total
transference and total countertransference situations. The illus-
tration is once again drawn from Wilhelm Reich (1933). The
analysis had long centred on the patient's smile, the sole analys-
able expression, according to Reich, that remained after cessa-
tion of all the communications and actions with which he had
begun treatment. Among these actions at the start had been
some that Reich interpreted as provocations (for instance, a
gesture aimed at the analyst's head). It is plain that Reich
was guided in this interpretation by what he had felt in counter-
transference. But what Reich perceived in this way was only a
part of what had happened within him; for apart from the
fright and annoyance (which, even if only to a slight degree,
he must have felt), there was a reaction of his ego to these feel-
ings, a wish to control and dominate them, imposed by his
'analytic conscience'. For Reich had given the analysand to
understand that there is a great deal of freedom and tolerance
in the analytic situation and it was this spirit of tolerance that
made Reich respond to these 'provocations' with nothing but an
interpretation. What the analysand aimed at doing was to test
whether such tolerance really existed in the analyst. Reich him-
self later gave him this interpretation, and this interpretation
had a far more positive effect than the first. Consideration of
the total countertransference situation (the feeling of being pro-
voked, and the 'analytic conscience' which determined the fate
of this feeling) might have been from the first a guide in appre-
hending the total transference situation, which consisted in
aggressiveness, in the original mistrust, and in the ray of con-
fidence, the new hope which the liberality of the fundamental
rule had awakened in him.
(7) I have referred above to the fact that the transference,
insofar as it is determined by the infantile situations and archaic
objects of the patient, provokes in the unconscious of the analyst
infantile situations and an intensified vibration of archaic objects
of his own. I wish now to present another example that shows
how the analyst, if not conscious of such countertransference
responses, may make the patient feel exposed once again to an
archaic object (the vicious circle) and how, in spite of his having
some understanding of what is happening in the patient, the
analyst is prevented from giving an adequate interpretation.
During her first analytic session, a woman patient talked
about how hot it was and other matters which to the analyst (a
woman candidate) seemed insignificant. She said to the patient
that very likely the patient dared not talk about herself. Al-
though the analysand was indeed talking about herself (even
when saying how hot it was), the interpretation was, in essence,
correct, for it was directed to the central conflict of the moment.
But it was badly formulated, and this was so partly because of
the countertransference situation. For the analyst's 'you dare
not' was a criticism, and it sprang from the analyst's feeling of
being frustrated in her desire for the patient to overcome her
resistance. If the analyst had not felt this irritation or if she had
been conscious of the neurotic nature of her internal reaction of
anxiety and annoyance, she would have sought to understand
why the patient 'dared not' and would have told her. In that
case the lack of courage that the analyst pointed out to the
patient would have proved to be a natural response within a
dangerous object relationship.
Pursuing the analyst's line of thought and leaving aside other
possible interpretations, we may suppose that she would then
have said to the analysand that something in the analytic situa-
tion (in the relationship between patient and analyst) had
caused her fear and made her thoughts turn aside from what
meant much to her to what meant little. This interpretation
would have differed from the one she gave the patient in two
points: first, the interpretation given did not express the object
relationship that led to the 'not daring' and, second, it coincided
in its formulation with superego judgements, which should be
avoided as far as possib1e.l Superegojudgement was not avoided
1 If the interpretations coincide with the analysand's superego judge-
in this case because the analyst was identified in countertrans-
ference with the analysand's superego without being conscious
of the identification; had she been conscious of it, she would
have interpreted, for example, the feared aggression from the
superego (projected upon the analyst) and would not have
carried it out by means of the interpretation. I t appears that
the 'interpretation of tendencies' without the consideration of
the total object relationship is to be traced, among other causes,
to repression by the analyst of one aspect of his countertransfer-
ence, his identification with the analysand's internal objects.
Later in the same session, the patient, feeling that she was
being criticized, censured herself for her habit of speaking rather
incoherently. She said her mother often remarked upon it, and
then criticized her mother for not listening, as a rule, to what she
said. The analyst understood that these statements related to the
analytic situation and asked her: 'Why do you think I'm not
listening to you?' The patient replied that she was sure the
analyst was listening to her.
What has happened? The patient's mistrust has clashed with
the analyst's desire for the patient's confidence; therefore the
analyst did not analyse the situation. She could not say to the
patient, 'No, I will listen to you, trust me', but she suggested it
with her question. Once again interference by the uncontrolled
countertransference (the desire that the patient should have no
resistance) converted good understanding into a deficient inter-
pretation. Such happenings are important, especially if they
occur often. And they are likely to do so, for such interpreta-
tions spring from a certain state of the analyst and this state is
partly unconscious. What makes these happenings so important
is the fact that the analysand's unconscious is fully aware of the
analyst's unconscious desires. Therefore the patient once again
faces an object which, as in this case, wishes to force or lure the
patient into rejecting his mistrust and unconsciously seeks to
satisfy its own desires or allay its own anxieties rather than to
understand and satisfy the therapeutic need of the patient.
All this we infer from the reactions of the patient, who sub-
mitted to the analyst's suggestion, telling the analyst that she
trusted her and so denying an aspect of her internal reality. She
submits to the previous criticism of her cowardice and then,

ments, the analyst is confused with the superego, sometimes with good
reason. Superego judgements must be shown to the analysand but, as
far as possible, should not be stated specifically.
apparently, 'overcomes' the resistance, while in reality every-
thing is going on unchanged. It cannot be otherwise, for the
analysand is aware of the analyst's neurotic wish and her trans-
ference is determined by that awareness. To a certain degree,
the analysand finds herself once again, in the actual analytic
situation, confronting her internal or external infantile reality
and to this same degree will repeat her old defences and will
have no valid reason for really overcoming her resistances, how-
ever much the analyst may try to convince her of her tolerance
and understanding. This she will achieve only by offering
better interpretations in which her neurosis does not so greatly
(8) The followingmore detailed example demonstrates: (a) the
talion law in the relationship of analyst and analysand; (b) how
awareness of the countertransference reaction indicates what is
happening in the transference and what at the moment is of
the greatest significance; (c) what interpretation is most suitable
for making a breach in the vicious circle; and (d) how the later
associations show that this end has been achieved, even if only
in part-for the same defences return and once again the
countertransference points out the interpretation the analysand
We will consider the most important occurrences in one ses-
sion. An analysand who suffered chiefly from an intense emo-
tional inhibition and from a 'disconnexion' in all his object
relationships began the session by saying that he felt completely
disconnected from the analyst. He spoke with difficulty as if he
were overcoming a great resistance, and always in an un-
changing tone of voice which seemed in no way to reflect his
instincts and feelings. Yet the countertransference response to
the content of his associations (or, rather, of his narrative, for
he exercised a rigid control over his ideas) did change from
time to time. At a certain point the analyst felt a slight irrita-
tion. This was when the patient, a physician, told him how, in
conversation with another physician, he sharply criticized ana-
lysts for their passivity (they give little and cure little), for their
high fees, and for their tendency to dominate their patients. The
patient's statements and his behaviour meant several things.
I t was clear, in the first place, that these accusations, though
couched in general terms and with reference to other analysts,
were directed against his own analyst; the patient had become
the analyst's superego. This situation in the patient represented
a defence against his own accusing superego, projected upon
the analyst. I t is a form of identification with the internal per-
secutors that leads to inversion of the feared situation. I t is,
in other words, a transitory 'mania for reproaching' as defence
against a paranoid-depressive situation in which the superego
persecutes the patient with reproaches and threatens him with
abandonment. Together with this identification with the super-
ego, there occurs projection of a part of the 'bad ego', and of the
id, upon the analyst. The passivity (the mere receptiveness, the
inability to make reparation), the selfish exploitation, and
the domination he ascribes to the analyst are 'bad tendencies'
of his own for which he fears reproach and abandonment by the
analyst. At a lower stratum, this 'bad ego' consists of 'bad ob-
jects' with which the patient had identified himself as a defence
against their persecution.
We already see that it would be premature to interpret this
deeper situation; the patient will first have to face his 'bad ego':
he will have to pass in transference through the paranoid-
depressive situation in which he felt threatened by the super-
ego-analyst. But even so we are still unsure of the interpretation
to be given, for what the patient said and did has even at the
surface still further meanings. The criticism he made to the
other physician about analysts had the significance of rebellion,
vengeance, and provocation; and, perhaps, of seeking for punish-
ment as well as of finding out how much freedom the analyst
allowed, and simultaneously of subjugating and controlling
this dangerous object, the analyst.
The analyst's countertransference reaction made clear to the
analyst which of all these interpretations was most strongly
indicated, for the countertransference reaction was the living
response to the transference situation at that moment. The
analyst felt (in accordance with the law of talion) a little anxious
and angry at the aggression he suffered from the patient, and
we may suppose that the patient-in his unconscious or conscious
fantasy senscd this annoyance in the internal object towards
which his protesting behaviour was directed, and that he reacted
to this annoyance with anxiety. The 'disconnexion' he spoke of
in his first utterance must have been in relation to this anxiety,
since it was because of this 'disconnexion' that the analysand
perceived no danger and felt no anxiety. By the patient's pro-
jection of that internal object the analyst is to the patient a
tyrant who demands complete submission and forbids any pro-
test. The transgression of this prohibition (the patient's protest
expressed to his friend, the physician) must seem to the analyst
-in the patient's fantasy- to be unfaithfulness, and must be
responded to by the analyst with anger and emotional abandon-
ment; we deduce this from the countertransference experience.
In order to reconcile the analyst and to win him back, the
patient accepted his anger or punishment and suffered from
stomach-ache-this he tells in his associations but without con-
necting the two experiences. His depression on this day was to
be explained by this guilt-feeling and, secondarily, by the object
loss resulting from his increased 'disconnexion'.
The analyst explained, in his interpretation, the meaning of
the 'disconnexion'. In reply the patient said that the previous
day he recalled his conversation with that physician and that it
did indeed cause him anxiety. After a brief pause he added: 'and
just now the thought came to me, well. and what am I to do
with that?' The analyst perceived that these words once again
slightly annoyed him. We can understand why. The patient's
first reaction to the interpretation (he reacted by recalling his
anxiety over his protest) had brought the analyst nearer to satis-
fying his desire to remove the patient's detachment. The
patient's recollection of his anxiety had been at least one for-
ward step, for he thus admitted a connexion that he usually
denied or repressed. But his next words frustrated the analyst once
again, for they signified: 'that is of no use to me, nothing has
changed'. Once again the countertransference reaction pointed
out to the analyst the occurrence of a critical moment in the
transference, and that here was the opportunity to interpret.
At this moment also, in the patient's unconscious fantasy, must
have occurred a reaction of anger from the internal object-
just as actually happened in the analyst- to which the interpre-
tation must be aimed. The patient's anxiety must have arisen
from just this fantasy. His anxiety-and with it his detachment
-could be diminished only by replacing that fantasied anger
by an understanding of the patient's need to defend himself
through that denial ('well .. . what am I to do with that?').
In reality the analyst, besides feeling annoyed, had understood
that the patient had to protest and rebel, close himself up and
'disconnect' himself once again, deny and prevent any influ-
ence, because if the analyst should prove to be useful the patient
would fall into intense dependence, just because of this useful-
ness and because the patient would be indebted to him. The
interpretation increased this danger, for the patient felt it to be
true. Because of the analyst's tyranny-his dominating, exploit-
ing, sadistic character- this dependence had to be prevented.
The analyst by awareness of his countertransference under-
stood the patient's anxiety and interpreted it to him. The fol-
lowing associations showed that this interpretation had also
been accurate.
The patient said shortly afterwards that his depression had
passed off, and this admission was a sign of progress because the
patient was admitting that there was something good about the
analyst. The next associations, moreover, permitted a more pro-
found analysis of his transference neurosis, for the patient now
revealed a deeper stratum. His underlying dependence became
clear. Hitherto the interpretation had been confined to the guilt-
feelings and anxiety that accompanied his defences (rebellion,
denial, and others) against this very dependence. The associa-
tions referred to the fact that a mutual friend of the patient and
of the analyst had a few days before told him that the analyst was
going away on holiday that night and that this session would
therefore be his last. I n this way the patient admitted the emo-
tional importance the analyst possessed for him, a thing he had
always denied. We understand now also that his protest against
analysts had been detcrmined beforehand by the imminent
danger of being forsaken by his analyst. When,. just before the
end of the session, thc analyst explained that the information the
friend gave him was false, the paticnt cxprcssed anger with his
friend and recallcd how the friend had been trying lately to
make him jealous of the analyst. Thus does the patient admit
his jealousy of the analyst, although he displaces his anger onto
the friend who roused his anxiety.
What had happcned? And how was it to be explained?
The analyst's expected journey represented, in the uncon-
scious of the patient, abandonment by internal objects necessary
to him. This danger was countered by an identification with
the aggressor; the threat of aggression (abandonment by the
analyst) was countered by aggression (the patient's protest
against analysts). His own aggression caused the patient to fear
counter-aggression or abandonment by the analyst. This anxiety
remained unconscious but the analyst was able to deduce it
from the counter-aggression he perceived in his countertransfer-
ence. If he had not interpreted the patient's transference situa-
tion, or if in his interpretation he had included any criticism
of the patient's insistent and continuous rejection of the analyst
or of his obstinate denial of any bond with the analyst, the
patient would have remained in the vicious circle between his
basic fear of abandonment and his defensive identification with
the persecutor (with the object that abandons); he would have
continued in the vicious circle of his neurosis. But the interpre-
tation, which showed him the analyst's understanding of his
conduct and of the underlying anxiety, changed (at least for
that moment) the image of the analyst as persecutor. Hence the
patient could give up his defensive identification with this image
and could admit his dependence (the underlying stratum), his
need for the analyst, and his jealousy.
And now once again in this new situation countertransference
will show the content and origin of the anxiety that swiftly
drives the analysand back to repetition of the defence mechan-
ism he had just abandoned (which may be identification with
the persecutor, emotional blocking, or something else). And
once again interpretation of this new danger is the only means
of breaking the vicious circle. If we consider the nature of the
relationship that existed for months before the emotional sur-
render that occurred in this session, if we consider the paranoid
situation that existed in the transference and countertransfer-
ence (expressed in the patient by his intense characterological
resistances and in the analyst by his annoyance), if we consider
all this background to the session just described, we understand
that the analyst enjoys, in the patient's surrender, a manic
triumph, to be followed of course by depressive and paranoid
anxieties, compassion towards the patient, desires for repara-
tion, and other sequelae. I t is just these guilt-feelings caused in
the analyst by his manic feelings that may lead to his failure
adequately to interpret the situation. The danger the patient
fears is that he will become a helpless victim of the object's (the
analyst's) sadism-of that same sadism the analyst senses in his
'manic' satisfaction over dominating and defeating the bad
object with which the patient was defensively identified. The
perception of this 'manic' countertransference reaction indicates
what the present transference situation is and what should be
If thcre were nothing else in the analyst's psychological situa-
tion but this manic reaction, the patient would have no alterna-
tive but to make use of the same old defence mechanisms that
essentially constituted his neurosis. In more general terms, we
should have to admit that the negative therapeutic reaction is
an adequate transference reaction in the patient to an imagined
or real negative countertransference in the analyst (Little,
1951). But even where such a negative countertransference
really exists, it is a part only of the analyst's psychological
response. For the law of talion is not the sole determinant of the
responses of the unconscious; and, moreover, the conscious also
plays a part in the analyst's psychological responses. As to the
unconscious, there is of course a tendency to repair, which may
even create a disposition to 'return good for evil'. This tendency
to repair is in reality a wish to remedy, albeit upon a displaced
object, whatever evil one may have thought or done. And as to
the conscious, there is, first, the fact that the analyst's own
analysis has made his ego stronger than it was before so that the
intensities of his anxieties and his further countertransference
reactions are usually diminished; second, the analyst has some
capacity to observe this countertransference, to 'get out of it',
to sta. ;i outside and regard it objectively; and third, the ana-
lyst's knowledge of psychology also acts within and upon his
psychological response. The knowledge, for instance, that behind
the negative transference and the resistances lies simply thwarted
love, helps the analyst to respond with love to this possibility of
loving, to this nucleus in the patient however deeply it be buried
beneath hate and fear.
(9) The analyst should avoid, as far as possible, making inter-
pretations in terms that coincide with those of the moral super-
ego.' This danger is increased by the unconscious identification
of the analyst with the patient's internal objects and, in particu-
lar, with his superego. In the example just cited, the patient,
in conversation with his friend, criticized the conduct of ana-
lysts. I n so doing he assumed the role of superego towards an
internal object which he projected upon the analyst. The ana-
lyst identified himself with this projected object and reacted
with unconscious anxiety and with annoyance to the accusation.
H e inwardly reproached the patient for his conduct and there
was danger that something of this reproach (in which the
analyst in his turn identified himself with the conduct of the
patient as superego) might filter into his interpretation, which
would then perpetuate the patient's neurotic vicious circle. But
the problem is wider than this. Certain psycho-analytic termin-
ology is likely to re-enforce the patient's confusion of the analyst
with the superego. For instance 'narcissism', 'passivity', and
'bribery of the superego' are terms we should not use literally or
in paraphrase in treatment without careful reflection, just
because they increase the danger that the patient will confuse
the imago of the analyst with that of his superego. For greater
Something similar, although not connected with countertransference,
is emphasized by Fairbairn ( I 943).
clarity two situations may be differentiated theoretically. I n
one, only the patient experiences these or like terms as criticism,
because of his conflict between ego and superego, and the
analyst is free of this critical feeling. In the other, the analyst
also regards certain character traits with moral intolerance; he
feels censorious, as if he were indeed a superego. Something of
this attitude probably always exists, for the analyst identifies
himself with the objects that the patient 'mistreats' (by his
'narcissism', or 'passivity', or 'bribery of the superego'). But
even if the analyst had totally solved his own struggles against
these same tendencies and hence remained free from counter-
transference conflict with the corresponding tendencies in the
patient, it would be preferable to point out to the patient the
several conflicts between his tendencies and his superego, and
not run the risk of making it more difficult for the patient to
differentiate between the judgement of his own superego and
the analyst's comprehension of these same tendencies through
the use of a terminology that precisely lends itself to confusing
these two positions.
One might object that this confusion between the analyst and
the superego neither can nor should be avoided, since it repre-
sents an essential part of the analysis of transference (of the
externalization of internal situations) and since one cannot
attain clarity except through confusion. That is true; this confu-
sion cannot and should not be avoided, but we must remember
that the confusion will also have to be resolved and that this
will be all the more difficult the more the analyst is really
identified in his experience with the analysand's superego and
the more these identifications have influenced negatively his
interpretations and conduct.
I n the examples presented we saw how to certain transference
situations there correspond certain countertransference situa-
tions, and vice versa. To what transference situation does the
analyst usually react with a particular countertransference?
Study of this question would enable one, in practice, to de-
duce the transference situations from the countertransference
reactions. Next we might ask, to what imago or conduct of
the object, to what imagined or real countertransference situa-
tion, does the patient respond with a particular transference?
Many aspects of these problems have been amply studied by
psycho-analysts, but the specific problem of the relation of trans-
I 60
ference and countertransference in analysis has received little
The subject is so broad that we can discuss only a few situa-
tions and those incompletely, restricting ourselves to certain
aspects. We must choose for discussion only the most important
countertransference situations, those that most disturb the
analyst's task and that clarify important points in the double
neurosis, la niurose h deux, that arises in the analytic situation-a
neurosis usually of very different intensity in the two parti-
( I ) What is the significance of countertransference anxiety?
Countertransference anxiety may be described in general and
simplified terms as being of depressive or paranoid character.'
In depressive anxiety the inherent danger consists in having
destroyed the analysand or made him ill. This anxiety may
arise to a greater degree when the analyst faces the danger that
the patient may commit suicide, and to a lesser degree when
there is deterioration or danger of deterioration in the patient's
state of health. But the patient's simple failure to improve and
his suffering and depression may also provoke depressive anxieties
in the analyst. These anxieties usually increase the desire to
heal the patient.
In referring to paranoid anxieties it is important to differenti-
ate between 'direct' and 'indirect' countertransference (Chap-
ter 5). I n direct countertransference the anxieties are caused
by danger of an intensificationof aggression from the patient him-
self. In indirect countertransference the anxieties are caused by
danger of aggression from third parties onto whom the analyst
has made his own chief transferences-for instance, the members
of the analytic society, for the future of the analyst's object rela-
tionships with thesociety is in part determined by his professional
performance. The feared aggression may take several forms,
such as criticism, reproach, hatred, mockery, contempt, or
bodily assault. In the unconscious it may be the danger of being
killed or castrated or otherwise menaced in an archaic way.
The transference situations of the patient to which the depres-
sive anxieties of the analyst are a response are, above all, those
See Klein (1935, 1950). The terms 'depressive', 'paranoid', and
'manic' are here used simply as descriptive terms. Thus, for example,
'paranoid anxieties' involve all the fantasies of being persecuted, in-
dependently of the libidinal phase or of the 'position' described by Klein.
The following considerations are closely connected with my ob.- wva-
tions on psychopathological stratification ( I 957).
in which the patient, through an increase in frustration' (or
danger of frustration) and in the aggression that it evokes,
turns the aggression against himself. We are dealing, on one
plane, with situations in which the patient defends himself
against a paranoid fear of retaliation by anticipating this danger,
by carrying out himself and against himself part of the aggres-
sion feared from the object transferred onto the analyst, and
threatening to carry it out still further. In this psychological
sense it is really the analyst who attacks and destroys the patient;
and the analyst's depressive anxiety corresponds to this psycho-
logical reality. In other words, the countertransference depres-
sive anxiety arises, above all, as a response to the patient's 'maso-
chistic defencev-which at the same time represents a revenge
('masochistic revenge') -and as a response to the danger of its
continuing. On another plane this turning of the aggression
against himself is carried out by the patient because of his own
depressive anxieties; he turns it against himself in order to pro-
tect himself against re-experiencing the destruction of the objects
and to protect these from his own aggression.
The paranoid anxiety in 'direct' countertransference is a
reaction to the danger arising from various aggressive attitudes
of the patient himself. The analysis of these attitudes shows that
they are themselves defences against, or reactions to, certain
aggressive imagos; and these reactions and defences are
governed by the law of talion or else, analogously to this, by
identification with the persecutor. The reproach, contempt,
abandonment, bodily assault--all these attitudes of menace or
aggression in the patient that give rise to countertransference
paranoid anxieties-are responses to (or anticipations of) equiva-
lent attitudes of the transferred object.
The paranoid anxieties in 'indirect' countertransference are
of a more complex nature since the danger for the analyst origi-
nates in a third party. The patient's transference situations that
provoke the aggression of this 'third party' against the analyst
may be of various sorts. In most cases, we are dealing with
transference situations (masochistic or aggressive) similar to
those that provoke the 'direct' countertransference anxieties
previously described.
The common denominator of all the various attitudes of
1 By the term 'frustration' I always refer to the subjective experience
and not to the objective facts. This inner experience is determined by
a complementary series at one end of which is primary and secondary
masochism and at the other end the actual frustrating happenings.
I 62
patients that provoke anxiety in the analyst is to be found, I
believe, in the mechanism of 'identification with the persecu-
tor'; the experience of being liberated from the persecutor and
of triumphing over him, implied in this identification, suggests
our designating this mechanism as a manic one. This mechan-
ism may also exist where the manifest picture in the patient is
quite the opposite, namely in certain depressive states; for the
manic conduct may be directed either towards a projected
object or towards an introjected object, it may be carried out
allopiastically or autoplastically. The 'identification with the
persecutor' may even exist in suicide, inasmuch as this is a
'mockery' of the fantasied or real persecutors, by anticipating
the intentions of the persecutors and by one doing to oneself
what they wanted to do; this 'mockery' is the manic aspect of
suicide. The 'identification with the persecutor' in the patient
is, then, a defence against an object felt as sadistic that tends to
make the patient the victim of a manic feast; and this defence
is carried out either through the introjection of the persecutor
in the ego, turning the analyst into the object of the 'manic
tendencies', or through the introjection of the persecutor in the
superego, taking the ego as the object of its manic trend. Let us
An analysand decides to take a pleasure trip to Europe. He
experiences this as a victory over the analyst both because he
will free himself from the analyst for two months and because
he can afford this trip whereas the analyst cannot. He then
begins to be anxious lest the analyst seek revenge for the patient's
triumph. The patient anticipates this aggression by becoming
unwell, developing fever and the first symptoms of influenza.
Thc analyst feels slight anxiety because of this illness and fears,
recalling certain previous experiences, a deterioration in the
state of health of the patient, who still however continues to
come to the sessions. Up to this point, the situation in the trans-
ference and countertransference is as follows. The patient is in
a manic relation to the analyst, and he has anxieties of pre-
ponderantly paranoid type. The analyst senses some irritation
over the abandonment and some envy of the patient's great
wealth (feelings ascribed by the patient in his paranoid anxieties
to the analyst); but at the same time the analyst feels satisfac-
tion at the analysand's real progress which finds expression in
the very fact that the trip is possible and that the patient has
decided to make it. The analyst perceives a wish in part of his
personality to bind the patient to himself and use the patient for
his own needs. I n having this wish he resembles the patient's
mother, and he is aware that he is in reality identified with the
domineering and vindicativeobject with which the patient identi-
fies him. Hence the patient's illness seems, to the analyst's un-
conscious, a result of the analyst's own wish, and the analyst
therefore experiences depressive (and paranoid) anxieties.
What object-imago leads the patient to this manic situation?
I t is precisely this same imago of a tyrannical and sadistic
mother, to whom the patient's frustrations constitute a manic
feast. I t is against these 'manic tendencies' in the object that the
patient defends himself, first by identification (introjection of
the persecutor in the ego, which manifests itself in the manic
experience in his decision to take a trip) and then by using a
masochistic defence to escape vengeance.
I n brief, the analyst's depressive (and paranoid) anxiety is
his emotional response to the patient's illness; and the patient's
illness is itself a masochistic defence against the object's vindic-
tive persecution. This masochistic defence also contains a manic
mechanism in that it derides, controls, and dominates the
analyst's aggression. I n the stratum underlying this we find the
patient in a paranoid situation in face of the vindictive persecu-
tion by the analyst -a fantasy which coincides with the analyst's
secret irritation. Beneath this paranoid situation, and causing it,
is an inverse situation: the patient is enjoying a manic triumph
(his liberation from the analyst by going on a trip), but the
analyst is in a paranoid situation (he is in danger of being
defeated and abandoned). And, finally, beneath this we find a
situation in which the patient is subjected to an object-imago
that wants to make of him the victim of its aggressive tendencies,
but this time not in order to take revenge for intentions or atti-
tudes in the patient, but merely to satisfy its own sadism-an
imago that originates directly from the original sufferings of the
I n this way, the analyst was able to deduce from each of his
countertransference sensations a certain transference situation;
the analyst's fear of deterioration in the patient's health enabled
him to perceive the patient's need to satisfy the avenger and to
control and restrain him, partially inverting (through the ill-
ness) the roles of victimizer and victim, thus alleviating his guilt-
feeling and causing the analyst to feel some of the guilt. The
analyst's irritation over the patient's trip enabled him to see
the patient's need to free himself from a dominating and sadistic
object, to see the patient's guilt-feelings caused by these tend-
encies, and also to see his fear of the analyst's revenge. By his
feeling of triumph the analyst was able to detect the anxiety and
depression caused in the patient by his dependence upon this
frustrating, yet indispensable, object. And each of these trans-
ference situations indicated to the analyst the patient's object-
imagos-the fantasied or real countertransference situations
that determined the transference situations.
(2) What is the meaning of countertransference aggression?
I n the preceding pages, we have seen that the analyst may
experience, besides countertransference anxiety, annoyance,
rejection, desire for vengeance, hatred, and other emotions.
What are the origin and meaning of these emotions?
Countertransference aggression usually arises in the face of
frustration (or danger offrustration) of desires which may super-
ficially be differentiated into 'direct' and 'indirect'. Both direct
and indirect desires are principally wishes to get libido or affec-
tion. The patient is the chief object of direct desires in the
analyst, who wishes to be accepted and loved by him. The
object of the indirect desires of the analyst may be, for example,
other analysts from whom he wishes to get recognition or admir-
ation through his successful work with his patients, using the
latter as means to this end (Chapter 5). This aim to get love has,
in general terms, two origins: an instinctual origin (the primi-
tive need of union with the object) and an origin of a defensive
nature (the need of neutralizing, overcoming, or denying the
rejections and other dangers originating from the internal
objects, in particular from the superego). The frustrations may
be differentiated, descriptively, into those of active type and
those of passive type. Among the active frustrations is direct
aggression by the patient, his mockery, deceit, and active rejec-
tion. To the analyst, active frustration means exposure to a
predominantly 'bad' object; the patient may become, for exam-
ple, the analyst's superego which says to him 'you are bad'.
Examples of frustration of passive type are passive rejection,
withdrawal, partial abandonment, and other defences against
the bond with and dependence on the analyst. These signify
frustrations of the analyst's need of union with the object.
I n summary, we may say that countertransference aggression
usually arises when there is frustration of the analyst's desires
that spring from Eros, both those arising from his 'original'
instinctive and affective drives and those arising from his need
of neutralizing or annulling his own Thanatos (or the action of
his internal 'bad objects') directed against the ego or against the
external world. Owing partly to the analyst's own neurosis (and
also to certain characteristics of analysis itself) these desires of
Eros somc~imesacquire tlie unconscious aim of bringing the
patient to a state of dependence. Hence countertransference
aggression may be provoked by the rejection of this dependence
by the patient who rejects any bond with the analyst and refuses
to surrender to him, showing this refusal by silence, denial,
secretiveness, repression, blocking, or mockery.
Next we must establish what it is that induces the patient to
behave in this way, to frustrate the analyst, to withdraw from
him, to attack him. If we know this we shall know what we
have to interpret when countertransference aggression arises in
us, being able to deduce from the countertransf'erence the trans-
ference situation and its cause. This cause ig a fantasied counter-
transference situation, or, more precisely, some actual or feared
bad conduct from the projected object. Experience shows that,
in somewhat general terms, this bad or threatening conduct of
the object is usually an equivalent of the conduct of the patient
(to which the analyst has reacted internally with aggression).
We also understand why this is so: the patient's conduct springs
from that most primitive of reactions, the talion reaction, or
from the defence by means of identification with the persecutor
or aggressor. In some cases it is quite simple: the analysand with-
draws from us, rejects us, abandons us, or dcrides us when he
fears or suffers the same or an equivalent treatment from us.
I n other cases it is more complex, the immediate identification
with the aggressor being replaced by another identification that
is less direct. T o exemplify: a woman patient, upon learning
that the analyst is going on holiday, remains silent a long while;
she withdraws, through her silence, as a talion response to the
analyst's withdrawal. Deeper analysis shows that the analyst's
holiday is, to the patient, equivalent to the primal scene; and
this is equivalent to destruction of her as a woman, and her
immediate response must be a similar attack against the analyst.
This aggressive (castrating) impulse is rejected and the result,
her silence, is a compromise between her hostility and its rejec-
tion; it is a transformed identification with the persecutor.
T o sum up:
(a) The countertransference reactions of aggression (or of its
equivalent) occur in response to transference situations in which
the patient frustrates certain desires of the analyst. These
frustrations are equivalent to abandonment or aggression which
the patient carries out or with which he threatens the analyst,
I 66
and thcy place the analyst, at first, in a depressive or paranoid
situation. The patient's defence is in one aspect equivalent to
a manic situation, for he is freeing himself from a perse~utor.~
(6) This transference situation is the defence against certain
object-imagos. There may be an object that persecutes the sub-
ject sadistically, vindictively, or morally, or an object that the
patient defends from his own destructiveness by an attack
against his own ego (Racker, 1957);in these, the patient attacks
-as Freud and Abraham have shown in the analysis of melan-
cholia and suicide-at the same time the internal object and
the external object (the analyst).
(c) The analyst who is placed by the alloplastic or autoplastic
attacks of the patient in a paranoid or depressive situation some-
times defends himself against these attacks by using the same
identification with the aggressor or persecutor as the patient
used. Then the analyst virtually becomes the persecutor, and
to this the patient (insofar as he presupposes such a reaction
from his internal and projected object) responds with anxiety.
This anxiety and its origin is nearest to consciousness, and is
therefore the first thing to interpret.
(3) Countertransference guilt-feelings are an important source
of countertransference anxiety; the analyst fears his 'moral con-
science'. Thus, for instance, a serious deterioration in the condi-
tion of the patient may cause the analyst to suffer reproach by
his own superego, and also cause him to fear punishment.
When such guilt-feelings occur, the superego of the analyst is
usually projected upon the patient or upon a third person, the
analyst being the guilty ego. The accuser is the one who is
attacked, the victim of the analyst. The analyst is the accused;
he is charged with being the victimizer. I t is therefore the
analyst who must suffer anxiety over his object, and dependence
upon it.
As in other countertransference situations, the analyst's guilt-
feeling may have either real causes or fantasied causes, or a
mixture of the two. A real cause exists in the analyst who has
neurotic negative feelings that exercise some influence over his
This 'mania' may be of 'superego type', as for instance 'mania for
reproaching' (identification with the persecuting moral superego) which
also occurs in many depressive and masochistic states. It may also be of
a 'pre-superego type' (belonging to planes underlying that of moral
guilt) as occurs for instance in certain erotomanias, for erotic mockery is
identification with the object that castrates by frustrating genitally
(Racker, I 957).
behaviour, leading him, for example, to interpret with aggres-
siveness or to behave in a submissive, seductive, or unnecessarily
frustrating way. But guilt-feelings may also arise in the analyst
over, for instance, intense submissiveness in the patient even
though the analyst had not driven the patient into such conduct
by his procedure. O r he may feel guilty when the analysand
becomes depressed or ill, although his therepeutic procedure
was right and proper according to his own conscience. I n such
cases, the countertransference guilt-feelings are evoked not by
what procedure he has actually used but by his awareness of
what he might have done in view of his latent disposition. I n
other words, the analyst identifies himself in fantasy with a bad
internal object of the patient and he feels guilty for what he has
provoked in this role-illness, depression, masochism, suffering,
failure. The imago of the patient then becomes fused with the
analyst's internal objects which the analyst had, in the past,
wanted (and perhaps managed) to frustrate, make suffer, domi-
nate, or destroy. Now he wishes to repair them. When this
reparation fails, he reacts as if he had hurt them. The true cause
of the guilt-feelings is the neurotic, predominantly sado-maso-
chistic tendencies that may reappear in countertransference;
the analyst therefore quite rightly entertains certain doubts and
uncertaintics about his ability to control them completely and
to keep them entirely removed from his procedure.
The transference situation to which the analyst is likely to
react with guilt-feelings is then, in the first place, a masochistic
trend in the patient, which may be either of a 'defensive'
(secondary) or of a 'basic' (primary) nature. If it is defensive
we, know it to be a rejection of sadism by means of its 'turning
against the ego'; the principal object-imago that imposes this
masochistic defence is a retaliatory imago. If it is basic ('primary
masochism') the object-imago is 'simply' sadistic, a reflex of the
pains ('frustrations') originally suffered by the patient. The
analyst's guilt-feelings refer to his own sadistic tendencies. H e
may feel as if he himself had provoked the patient's masochism.
The patient is subjugated by a 'bad' object so that it seems as if
the analyst had satisfied his aggressiveness; now the analyst is
exposed in his turn to the accusations of his superego. I n short,
the superficial situation is that the patient is now the superego,
and the analyst the ego who must suffer the accusation; the
analyst is in a depressive-paranoid situation, whereas the patient
is, from one point of view, in a 'manic' situation (showing, for
example, 'mania for reproaching'). But on a deeper plane the
situation is the reverse: the analyst is in a 'manic' situation (act-
ing as a vindictive, dominating, or 'simply' sadistic imago), and
the patient is in a depressive-paranoid situation (Racker, 1957).
(4) Besides the anxiety, hatred, and guilt-feelings in counter-
transference, there are a number of other countertransference
situations that may also be decisive points in the course of analy-
tic treatment, both because they may influence the analyst's
work and because the analysis of the transference situations that
provoke such countertransference situations may represent the
central problem of treatment, clarification of which may be
indispensable if the analyst is to exert any therapeutic influence
upon the patient.
Let us consider briefly only two of these situations. One is
the countertransference boredom or somnolence already men-
tioned which of course assumes great importance only when it
occurs often. Boredom and somnolence are usually unconscious
talion responses in the analyst to a withdrawal or affective aban-
donment by the patient. This withdrawal has diverse origins
and natures; but it has specific characteristics, for not every kind
of withdrawal by the patient produces boredom in the analyst.
One of these characteristics seems to be that the patient with-
draws without going away, he takes his emotional departure
from the analyst while yet remaining with him; there is as a
rule no danger of the patient's taking flight. This partial with-
drawal or abandonment expresses itself superficially in intel-
lectualization (emotional blocking), in increased control, some-
times in monotony in the way of speaking, or in similar devices.
The analyst has at these times the sensation of being excluded
and of being impotent to guide the course of the sessions. I t
seems that the analysand tries in this way to avoid a latent and
dreaded dependence upon the analyst. This dependence is, at
the surface, his dependence upon his moral superego, and at a
deeper level it is dependence upon other internal objects which
are in part persecutors and in part pzrsecuted. These objects
must not be projected upon the analyst; the latent and internal
relations with them must not be made present and externalized.
This danger is avoided through various mechanisms, ranging
from 'conscious' control and selection of the patient's communi-
cations to depersonalization, and from emotional blocking' to
total repression of any transference relation; it is this rejection
This emotional blocking and, in particular, the blocking of aggres-
sion seems to be the cause of the 'absence of danger' for the analyst (the
fact that the analysand does not run away or otherwise jeopardize the
of such dangers and the avoidance and mastery of anxiety by
means of these mechanisms that lcad to the withdrawal to which
the analyst may react with borcdom or son~nolence.
Countertransference anxiety and guilt-feclings also frequently
cause a tendency to countertransference submissiveness, which
is important from two points of view: both for its possible in-
fluence upon the analyst's understanding, behaviour, and tcch-
nique, and for what it may teach us about the patient's
transfcrcnce situation. This tendency to submissiveness will lead
tlicanalyst toavoidfrustrating the patient and will even cause the
analyst to pamper him. The analyst's tendency to avoid frustra-
tion and tension will express itself in a search for rapid pacifi-
cation of the transference situations, by prompt 'reduction' of
the transference to infantile situations, for example, or by rapid
rec~nstructionof the 'good', 'real' imago of the analyst.' The
analyst who feels subjugated by the patient feels angry, and the
patient, intuitively perceiving this anger, is afraid of his revenge.
The transference situation that lcads the patient to dominate
and subjugate the analyst by a hidden or manifest threat seems
analogous to the transference situation that leads the analyst to
feel anxious and guilty. The various ways in which the analyst
reacts to his anxietics-in one case with an attitude of sub-
mission, in another case with inner recrimination-is also
related to the transference attitude of the patient. M y observa-
tions seem to indicate that the greater the disposition to real
aggressive action in the analysand, the more the analyst tends to
Bcfore closing, let us consider briefly two questions which
have yet to be answered. How much confidence should we place
in countertransference as a guide to understanding the patient?
And how useful or how harmful is it to communicate to the
patient a countertransference reaction? As to the first question,
I think it certainly a mistake to find in countertransference
reactions an oracle, with blind faith to expect of them the pure
truth about the psychological situations of the analysand. I t is

analysis), which seems to be one of the conditions for occurrence of

countertransference boredom.
1 Wilhelm Reich (1933) stressed the frequent tendency in analysts to
avoid negative transference. The countertransference situation just
described is one of the situations underlying that tendency.
plain that our unconscious is a very personal 'rccciver' and
'transmitter' and we must reckon with frequent distortions of
objective reality. But it is also true that our unconscious is never-
theless 'the best we have of its kind'. His own analysis and some
analytic expcrience enables the analyst, as a rule, to be con-
scious of this personal factor and know his 'personal equation'.
According to my experience, the danger of cxaggerated faith
in the messages of one's own unconscious is, cvcn when they
refer to very 'personal' reactions, less than the danger ofrcpressing
them and denying them any objective value.
I have sometimes begun a supervisory hour by asking the
candidate how he has felt towards thc patient that wcek or what
he has experienced during the sessions, and the candidate has
answered, for instance, that he was bored, or that he felt anxious
because he had the impression that the patient wanted to aban-
don the analysis. On other occasions I have myself noticed
annoyance or anxiety in the candidate relative to the patient.
These countertransference responses have at times indicated to
me in advance the central problem of the treatment at whatever
stage it had reached; and this supposition has usually been veri-
fied by detailed analysis of the material presented in the super-
visory hour. When these countertransference reactions were
very intense they of course referred to unsolved problems in the
candidate, and his reactions were distorted echoes of the object-
ive situation. But even without such 'intensity' we must always
reckon with certain distortions. One candidate, for instance,
reacted for a time with s!ight annoyance whenever his analysands
were much occupied with their childhood. The candidate had
the idea that only analysis of transference could further the
treatment. In reality he also had a wish that the analysands
concern themselves with him. But the candidate was able by
analysing this situation quickly to revive his interest in the
childhood situations of the analysands, and he could also see
that his annoyance, in spite of its neurotic character, had
pointed out to him the rejection of certain transference situa-
tions in some analysands.
Whatever the analyst experiences emotionally, his reactions
always bear some relation to processes in the patient. Even the
most neurotic countertransference ideas arise only in response
to certain patients and to certain situations of these patients, and
they can, in consequence, indicate something about the patients
and their situations. T o cite one last example: a candidate, at
the beginning of a session (and before the analysand, a woman,
had spoken), had the idea that she was about to draw a revolver
and shoot at him; he felt an impulse to sit in his chair in a
defensive position. He readily recognized the paranoid char-
acter of this idea, for the patient was far from likely to behave
in such a way. Yet it was soon clear that his reaction was in
a certain sense appropriate; the analysand spontaneously re-
marked that she intended to give him 'a kick in the penis'. O n
other occasions when the candidate had the same idea, this
patient was fantasying that she was the victim of persecution; in
this case also the analyst's reaction was, in a way, appropriate,
for the patient's fantasy of being persecuted was the consequence
and the cause of the patient's sadistic impulses towards the
transferred object.
On the other hand, one must critically examine the deductions
one makes from perception of one's own countertransference.
For example, the fact that the analyst feels angry does not
simply mean (as is sometimes said) that the patient wishes to
make him angry. I t may mean rather that the patient has a
transference feeling of guilt. What has been said above concern-
ing countertransference aggression is relevant here.
The second question-whether the analyst should or should
not 'communicate' or 'interpret' aspects of his countertransfer-
ence to the analysand-cannot be considered fully here.' Much
depends, of course, upon what, when, how, to whom, for what
purpose, and in what conditions the analyst speaks about his
countertransference. It is probable that the purposes sought by
communicating the countertransference might often (but not
always) be better attained by other means. The principal other
means is analysis of the patient's fantasies about the analyst's
countertransference (and of the related transferences) sufficient
to show the patient the truth (the reality of the countertrans-
ferences of his inner and outer objects) ;and with this must also
be analysed the doubts, negations, and other defences against
the truth, intuitively perceived, until they have been overcome.
But there are also situations in which communication of the
countertransference is of value for the subsequent course of the
' Alice Balint ( I 936)' Winnicott ( I 949)' and others favour communi-
cating to the patient (and further analysing) certain countertransference
situations. Heimann (1950) is among those who oppose doing so.
Liberman (1952)describes how, in the treatment of a psychotic woman,
communication of the countertransferenceplayed a very important part.
The analyst freely associated upon unconscious manifestations of counter-
transference which the patient pointed out to him.
treatment. Without doubt, this aspect of the use ofcountertrans-
ference is of great interest; we need an extensive and detailed
study of the inherent problems of communication of counter-
transferencc. Much more experience and study of countertrans-
ference needs to be recorded.
Psycho-Analytic Technique and
The Analyst's Unconscious Masochism1
Psycho-analytic cure consists in establishing a unity within the
psychic structure of the patient. Most of what is ego alien must
be relinquished or reintegrated in the ego. For this unity to be
achieved the analyst must, in the countertransference, achieve
a kind of unity especially with what the patient rejects or splits
off from himself. The analyst is able to do this to the degree to
which he has mastered his own ego defences, and insofar as
he is able to rccognize what there is or was of himself in the
Every object-imago is psychologically a projected part of the
subject. The psycho-analytic process in one sense consists, for
both patient and analyst, in restoring the unity broken by this
division of one into two or more. T o be cured is to have the
integrity and mastery of one's personality restored; and to cure
is to integrate the patient's psyche by integrating one's own,
re-establishing the equation non-ego (you) = ego. T o under-
stand is to overcome the division into two, and to identify one-
self is, in this aspect, to restore an already pre-existing identity.
T o understand, to unite with another, and hence also to love,
prove to be basically one and the same. Therefore, understand-
ing is equivalent to positive countertransference, taking this
term in its widest sense to mean love and union. The disturb-
ances of positive countertransference, its 'negative' aspects, are
thus disturbances of the union and equivalent to disturbances
of understanding. Hence the continual analytic utilization and
solution of every manifestation of negative countertransference
and the re-establishment of positive countertransference are
decisive factors for the favourable development of the psycho-
analytic proccss. T o the degree to which negative countertrans-
ference is a response to a negative transference, the negative
countertransference must be resolved if the negative transfer-
1 Read before the First Latin-American Psychoanalytic Congress,
Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1956. Reprinted from the Psychoanal. Quart.
( 1958)' 27-
ence is to be resolved. Only by resolving the negative counter-
transference can we rediscover and re-establish positive trans-
ference, which is in one sense the patient's union with himself,
and his cure.
During the last few years psycho-analysts have become in-
creasingly aware of the importance and meanings of counter-
transference, both as a hindrance and help for the analytic work.
I may mention the publications of Lorand, Rosen, Winnicott,
Heimann, Annie Reich, Little, Gitelson, Weigert, Fliess, Spitz,
Zetzel, Money-Kyrle, and others. I n the last chapter I started
from the thesis that transference, upon the analysis of which
the cure so essentially depends, always exists. Normally the
analyst responds to it in two ways: he identifies with the patient's
ego and id; and he identifies himself with the patient's internal
objects which the patient places within the analyst. These
intcrnal objccts, projected by the patient into the analyst, range
from the most primitive persecutors and idealized objects to the
parents of the genital Oedipus complex and their heir, the
superego. The patient treats the analyst as he would the objects
he places within the analyst, who feels treated accordingly.
Thus the analyst normally identifies himself, in part, with the
objects with which the patient identifies him. The identifica-
tions with the patient's ego and id I have suggested calling
'concordant identifications', those with the patient's internal
objects, following an analogous term introduced by Helene
Deutsch, as 'con~plcmcntaryidentifications'. I n the ideal case
the analyst carries out all thesc identifications, perceives them,
and utilizes thcm for understanding and interpretation of the
processes of the patient's inner and outer world. This ideal is
acccpted by all analysts insofar as it refers to the concordant
identifications, but not, I believe, in what concerns the com-
plementary ones. In other words, it is taken for granted that the
analyst must cocxpcrience, to a corresponding degree, all the
impulses, anxieties, and dcfenccs of the patient, but it seems to
be less readily assumcd that he also coexperiences or should
cocxpcrience, to a corresponding degree, the impulses, anxieties,
and defeilccs of the patient's intcrnal objects. Nevertheless, if
this occurs, the analyst acquires a further key of prime import-
ancc for the undcrstanding of the transference. I n Chapter 6 I
also pointed out which transference processes usually provoke in
the analyst dcprcssivc or paranoid anxieties (in Melanie Klein's
terminology), which ones provoke guilt-feelings, aggressiveness,
submissiveness, somnolence, and other states, and how the
analyst can deduce from his own specific countertransference
feelings what is going on.
We can, however, use countertransfercnce and, in particular,
the complementary identifications in this way as a technical aid
only if the identifications in question are true ones (and not
projections of the analyst's own problems onto the .analysand),
and if the analyst keeps a certain distance from all these pro-
cesses within himself, neither rejecting them pathologically nor
'drowning' in them by falling into violent anxieties, guilt-
feelings, or anger. Both repression of these internal processes and
'drowning' in these feelings hinder or prevent the analyst from
opening a breach in the patient's neurotic vicious circle by
means of adequate transference interpretations, either because
the analyst does not himself enter far enough into this vicious
circle or else because he enters too far into it. I n such cases it
may also happen that the analyst's attitude towards the patientis
influenced by his neurotic countertransference; then the patient
is faced once again (and now within the analysis itself) with a
reality that coincides in part with his neurotic inner reality. But
adequate countertransference of these situations and under-
standing of them afford the analyst increased possibilities of
interpreting the transference at the opportune moment and of
thus opening the necessary breach. Adequate countertrans-
ference experience depends on several factors, two of which are
particularly decisive: the degree of the analyst's own integration
and the degree to which he is able, in his turn, to perform for
himself what he so often performs for the patient, namely, to
divide his ego into an irrational part that experiences and
another rational part that observes the irrational part.
In the present chapter I will confine myself to one specific
problem, one of the most important disturbances of counter-
transference, of the analyst's understanding, and of the successful
evolution of psycho-analytic treatment: I refer to the analyst's
own unconscious masochism. By this I mean masochism as a
universal tendency which exists in every analyst. Neverthe-
less, the description that foIlows will refer more to analysts with
predominant traits of a masochistic character than to those of
other characterological types. Just as we differentiate, among
patients, between neuroses and character disturbances and
their various corresponding transferences, so also must we differ-
entiate, among analysts, between 'countertransference neurosis'
and 'countertransference character disturbance'. The latter also
1 76
includes the analyst's charac terological coun terresistances, ana-
logous to the patient's characterological resistances. A study of
such character disturbances in the analyst and his corresponding
countertransference would be of great practical value.
In terms of object relations the analyst's masochism repre-
sents one of the forms of unconscious 'negative' countertransfer-
ence, the analyst putting his sadistic internal object into the
patient. The unity between analyst and patient is thus dis-
turbed from the very outset and gives place to a duality with a
certain degree of predominance of Thanatos (sado-masochism)
and a certain degree of rejection of Eros.
I t should be stressed, first of all, that the analyst's masochism
aims at making him fail in his task. We should, therefore, never
be too sure that we are really seeking success and must be pre-
pared to recognize the existence of an 'inner saboteur' (as Fair-
bairn says) of our professional work. We must likewise reckon
with an unseen collaboration between the masochism of the
analyst and that of the patient. Insofar as the analyst's activity
signifies to him, for instance, an attempt to destroy the father,
the oedipal guilt-feeling may express itself in a moral maso-
chism conspiring against his work. We are dealing here with a
pathological (for example, a manic) signification of the act of
curing, or more precisely, with a 'pathological desire to cure'
in the analyst. Psychological constellations of this kind may
constitute, to a variable degree, a 'negative therapeutic reac-
tion' of the analyst. I n such a case the analyst is partially im-
peded in achieving progress with his patients or else he feels
unconsciously compelled to annul whatever progress he has
already achieved. I have, for instance, repeatedly observed how
a candidate or an analyst, after having given a series of good
interpretations and having thus provoked a very positive trans-
ference, thereupon becomes anxious and has to disturb things
through a n error at his next intervention.
The analyst's masochistic disposition is also an unconscious
tendency to repeat or invert a certain infantile relationship with
his parents in which he sacrifices either himself or them. The
analyst may, for example, seek to suffer now, through his ana-
lytic 'children', what he had made his own parents suffer, either
in fantasy or in reality. The transference is, in this aspect, an
unconscious creation of the analyst. This tendency may mani-
fest itself, for instance, in the unconscious provocation of a
preponderance or prolongation of certain transference situa-
tions. That one's fate is, in some respects, the expression of one's
unconscious tendencies and defences holds good for the analyst
and his work. Just as countertransference is a 'creation' of the
patient (Heimann, 1950) and an integral part of his inner and
outer world, so also, in some measure, is transference the ana-
lyst's creation and an integral part of his inner and outer world.
As is well known, masochism goes hand-in-hand with the
paranoid disposition, and hence our masochism makes us not
only seek failure but also particularly fear it. Masochism creates,
therefore, a special disposition to countertransference anxiety
over the patient's masochism which conspires against the task
of therapy. Furthermore, it predisposes the analyst to feel per-
secuted by the patient and to see mainly the patient's negative
transference and his aggression. Masochism and paranoid
anxiety act like smoked glasses, hindering our perception of the
patient's love and what is good in him, which in turn increases
the negative transference. Our understanding becomes a partial
one; while we clearly perceive the present negative transference,
we easily become blind to the latent and potential positive trans-
The masochistic analyst also has, analogously, an unconscious
preference for perceiving the patient's resistances, which he
experiences as aggressions, and thus the patient turns into a
persecutor. The analyst tends to overlook the valuable com-
munications, the 'contents', the 'good things' that the patient
transmits to him together with his resistances. The classical rule
according to which the analyst should direct his attention in the
first place to the resistances can, in this sense, be unconsciously
abused by the analyst's masochism. Moreover, the masochistic
analyst is inclined towards submission to the patient, and par-
ticularly to his resistances. He tends, for instance, to 'let him
run' too much with his associations, sometimes with the rational-
ization of showing him 'tolerance' and giving him freedom. The
truth is that the neurotic is a prisoner of his resistances and
needs constant and intense help from the analyst if he is to
liberate himself from his chains.
I n this sense, the masochistic analyst is also inclined to mis-
apply another good psycho-analytic rule: the one recommend-
ing passivity to the analyst. This is a very elastic concept and
our masochism may make ill use of it and lead us into being
exaggeratedly passive and not fighting for the patient. The
masochistic analyst tends to renounce parenthood, leaving the
direction of the analysis overmuch to the patient. Excessive
passivity implies scant interpretative activity and this, in turn,
scant working-through on the patient's part with a consequent
reduction of therapeutic success.
Masochism can also give rise to a certain affective detach-
ment in the analyst with respect to the patient and his com-
munications, since approach, union, and even reparation may
be too gratifying because to the analyst's unconscious they sig-
nify gratification of a concurrent aggressive tendency such as the
desire for triumph over a rival. hlasochism may also cause stiff-
ness, overobedience to rules, and other similar traits in the
analyst's methods.
The patient's resistances and negative transference manifest
themselves also in the patient's attitude to the interpretations.
The importance of this attitude is very great; upon it depends to
a high degree the success or failure of the treatment. The maso-
chistic analyst is predisposed to bear passively the patient's nega-
tive relation to the interpretations, or he may become anxious
or annoyed by them when the proper thing is to analyse the
patient's oedipal or pre-oedipal conflicts with the interpreta-
tions and his paranoid, depressive, manic, or masochistic atti-
tudes towards them. hdasochism here induces the analyst to
allow the patient to manage the analytic situation, and even to
collaborate with his defences, preferring, for instance, to let
himself be tortured and victimized rather than frustrate the
A change in the analyst's masochistic attitude to the act of
analysing, to the patient, and to the patient's communications
can considerably incrcase the success of the therapeutic work.
Such a change can bring an awakening, a greater readiness for
battle and victory, a fuller acceptance of our new parenthood,
a closer approach to the patient, a struggle for his love along
with greatcr confidence in it. I t can bring willingness to see the
positive transference behind the negative, to see the good things
together with the bad ones, and the contcnt offered us by the
patient together with the rcsistances. It likewise implies a con-
stant striving for rediscovery and recovery of the positive
countertransference through continual solution of the negative
countertransference. This point is fundamental, for it implies
one's experiencing the patient as one's own self, the basis of
understanding. O n this ground the analyst is always with the
patient, he accompanies him in each of his mental movements,
he participates in every detail of his inner and outer life with-
out fear of hiin and without submitting to his resistances, he
understands him better, and for everything he receives he tries
to give by communicating to the patient as far as possible all
that he has understood. There is then a greater activity in the
empathic and interpretative work, the analyst gives more (albeit
with certain exceptions), and thus really becomes a 'good
object', remaining all the while attentive to how the patient is
taking what he gives him and how he is digesting it. With this
greater activity and freedom the analyst includes himself more
in the psycho-analytic process, and likes to do so; thus the trans-
ference and countertransference experiences become more in-
tensely mobilized and enriched. His passivity gives place to a
greater inteichange of roles with the patient, analyst and patient
oscillating to a higher degree between listening and speaking,
between passivity and activity, between femininity and mascu-
linity; and thus the infantile psychosexual conflicts are analysed
as they are manifested in these aspects of the analyst-patient
relationship as well as in the other ways with which we are
familiar. The previous therapeutic pessimism changes towards
a more enthusiastic and optimistic attitude which gains strength
through the improvement in the therapeutic results and the
satisfactions afforded by the reparatory work.
The struggle with the resistances for the sake of the patient's
health thus acquires a certain similarity to the famous wrestling
of the Biblical patriarch Jacob with the Angel. This continued
undecided the whole night through, but Jacob would not yield
and said to the Angel: 'I won't let you go unless you bless me.'
And finally the Angel had no choice but to do so. Perhaps we
shall also finish the struggle, as Jacob did, somewhat lame-
legged, but if we fight as manfully as he, we shall no less enjoy
from our own inner being a blessing of a sort; and the patient
will as well.
Psycho-Analytic Technique and the
Analyst's Unconscious Mania1
It little serves to clucidate and discuss concepts where there
intervene desires and fears that direct matters towards ends of
their own. This fact, discovered with its full implications by
psycho-analysis, also holds good for analytical concepts, their
interpretation and use, and for those persons who interpret and
use them. Nevertheless, such a discussion must be carried out
if the ambiguity or vagueness of the concepts serve as a refuge
and disguise for thcse desires and fears. I do not, therefore, aim
here to say anything new; only to reopen discussion of some
concepts and the use we make of them.2
I n the first place I should like to consider the concepts
'independence' and 'dependence'. A marked tendency prevails
to regard independence as something frankly positive and
dependence as something frankly negative, from the point of
view of psychological cure or cvolution. The positive aspect of
independence seems to lead one to overlook the negative one
and thus it is apt to mask neurotic ends. I n the same way, the
negative aspect of dependence seems to lead to a concealment
of the positive one and the criticism of dependence may equally
serve to cover pathological tendencies or defences. The positive
aspect of independence may be described as the state of being
free of neurotic anxiety ill object relations; its negative aspect
is the rejection of libidinal and emotional surrender. I n other
words, what is called 'independence' may well be a reaction-
formation to neurotic dependence, the former in such a case
being just as neurotic as the latter (or even more so). The nega-
tive aspect of dependence is love with neurotic fear and hatred.
1 Reprinted from Samiksa ( I 954), 8.
a The following considerations arise from local observations. How-
ever, their validity is unlikely to be bounded by geographical limits, any
more than is neurosis, from which the misunderstandings in question
spring. In this sense, I also believe that there is nobody free from them.
The differences are in degree and time, although other people may be
more inclined to misunderstandings other than those dealt with here.
On the otlicr hand, the capacity for dependence is positive: it is
the capacity to deposit in an object a considerable part of one's
libido, trusting in the latter's good response. The misuse of
these concepts consists, in the first place, in the fact that the
battle-cry of 'independence' and the rejection of dependence
are placed at the service of narcissistic and aggressive drives, or
at the service of the defence against anxieties bound up with
libidinal and emotional surrender.
An example from analytic work: a young analyst notices the
analysand's neurotic dependence upon his wife. He points it out
to him and, thereafter, the analysand acts with greater 'inde-
pendence'. What has happened may be summed up in one
sentence: the analysand has one more pathological defence
than he had before. Owing to his dependence on the analyst,
he obeys him by means of a reaction-formation-the pseudo-
independence- to his matrimonial dependence. He acts in a
different way but, at bottom, nothing has changed.
The objection may be raised: 'What you describe is a rather
unfortunate interpretation on that analyst's part which led-
as you say yourself-to a pseudo-independence, but not to real
independence.' What is, then, real independence? Seeing that
it cannot consist in the severing of libidinal and affective bonds,
it must be-in the ideal sense of the term-a love without
neurotic fear or hatred. But every love binds and every bond
makes one dependent. It follows from this that 'real indepen-
dence' would be based upon the subject's depending upon an
internul object that neither imposes nor threatens but loves,
accepting or refusing without fear or hatred. This internal
object relationship determines the relations with the external
objects, without these, whatever they may be like, being able
to change anything in that internal harmony. I think that it is
because of this, and only in this sense, that real inde~endencehas
this name; the internal relation on which it is based would
better be called a happy erotic union.
Such an ideal image of the good internal object can never
occur in reality. But insofar as the analyst achieves it, he can
contribute towards the analysand's attaining a certain degree
of 'real independence', i.e. that through the reliving in the
transference of infantile conflicts under better circumstances he
attains a better internal dependence. This presupposes that the
analyst must be in a certain measure free of anxiety, so that the
desires bound up with his work-such as his desire to cure,
to comprehend, to achieve success, to be loved, to satisfy his
I 82
curiosity, etc.-should be without compulsion, and well able
to bear and elaborate the continual frustrations in this respect.
We may seem to have digressed from the subject but in reality
we have approached it more closely. For it is these psycho-
logical circumstances within the analyst that the reasons for
the misunderstandings lie. An analyst who fears dependence-
i.e. one who lives in anxious dependence upon his internal
objects-may be tempted to drive the analysand to an 'inde-
pendent' way of acting and havc difficulty in bringing him to
elaborate and overcome the neurotic dependence he displays
towards him. We shall be tempted to seck therapeutic success
through external or superficial changes like these to the degree
in which we seek our own success by this road.
In close relation to the misunderstandings mentioned above
is the concept of instinctual liberation --a misunderstanding re-
peatedly dealt with by Freud, which, however, we cannot well
pass over in view of its persistence in our own ranks. The
same error to which we are inclined is one which provokes
resistance to psycho-analysis in persons unfamiliar with it. It
is the idea that psycho-analysis advocates virtually unlimited
instinctual satisfaction or, at least, that it advises one to give it
preference over affective and moral values. The difference
between these adherents to psycho-analysis and their critics lies
in the fact that the adherents mistakenly defend what the
critics rightly attack-rightly, if analysis did indeed affirm
what they find cause to censure. But this is not the case, as
Freud emphasized, for the conflict between ego and instincts is
not to be solved by granting the victory to either of the two
conflicting tendencies. 'In neurotics', says Freud (1917), 'asceti-
cism has the upper hand and the consequence of this is pre-
cisely that the repressed sexuality tendency finds a way out in
symptoms. If, on the contrary, we were to secure victory for
sensuality, then the sexual repression that had been put out one
side would necessarily be replaced by symptoms.' How is one
to account for the fact that, nevertheless, we sometimes proceed
as ifwe had never read this and, for example, urge the analysand
in a more or less masked form to a 'freer' instinctual way of life?
One argument aimed at defending such behaviour is that in
this way the analysand can introject into his superego an
object that permits him more. What really happens is that the
conflict with the instincts is simply covered up. Besides, a new
fear is added to the old ones, a fear of the analyst who believes
he is permitting but is really demanding and is critical of
things as they are. It is also wcll known how ccrtain patients
tend to dcfend themselves against neurotic anxiety through
activity, especially scxual (the pseudo-genital dcfcncc against
l~omosexuality,depression, or paranoid anxiety). Direct or
indirect encouragcmcnt of instinctual activity thus often
amounts to a strengtlicnillg of llie acting out, i.c. of a patlio-
logical defencc. The rcason for this misunderstanding is like-
wise in the analyst's neurosis. Perhaps it is not entirely super-
fluous to stress once again that the object of treatment is indeed
'a greater capacity for enjoyment and work' (Freud), but that
the path to this goal is always the overcoming of the pathological
defences, a process that is essentially carried out in the transfer-
ence analysis.
To the same topic belongs also the rather widespread
tendency always to consider guilt-feelings as neurotic insofar
as they rcfer to sexuality. What really happens is that sexual
activity is not only 'sadistically interpreted' by the patient, but
that it is actually sadistic or is at the service of aggressive drives.
T o stimulate the analysand in one way or another to such
activity is to drive him into a depression which accords well
enough wit11 reality, since it is very possible that he may
actually do psychological harm to the object. The analyst may
afterwards be able to manage matters so that this depression
becomes repressed, for instance, by suggesting to the patient
that his behaviour is harmless. But, at bottom, the analysand
knows better. And the analyst as well, so long as he does avoid
this knowledge by repressing his identification with the attacked
objects, blocking his emotions and intellectualizing the problems
of love and sexuality.
I n this connexion one sometimes hears the argument, 'I have
to defend my analysand and not other people.' This seems to me
very dubious reasoning. I n the first place because Eros-which
works as much in the analyst as in the analysand-does not
admit any limits through the fact that a certain person happens
to be upon our analytic couch and others do not, especially
when there are profound bonds between the analysand and
these others. That standpoint has bad consequences precisely
because the identification arising from Eros is a universal and
continuous process, which can be repressed but scarcely avoided.
1 The condemnation by the superego only originates superficially from
the parental prohibitions. On a deeper plane, there persists in his super-
ego the patient's own reactions to the frustrations from the primary
Hence aggressive or antisocial acts rebound psychologically on
the doer (by a direct or indirect path, through inner or outer
repercussion), leading him to a state of depression or paranoid
Such misunderstandings become particularly clear in the
analysis of family relationships. How, for instance, can the
analysand believe in the tolerance of the analyst who has
criticized his father or mother in aggressive (or even violent)
terms? And what-the analysand will unconsciously wonder
-what will the analyst think of him when he discovers his
identification with these 'bad' objects? This misunderstanding
(regarding the technique of bringing to consciousness the
relationship with the parents) is still further aggravated by the
fact that not infrequently the analyst, in the name of 'independ-
ence' or 'instinctual liberation' stimulates the realization of
tendencies that are precisely due to these identifications.
It should be called to mind that the accusations against the
parents (or substitutes) are frequently used as a defence against
one's own guilt-feelings and that the 'recriminatory mania' is
designed to reject the depression. The conflict with the 'bad
object' which was afterwards introjected (which led to the
depression) is very different from these defensive recriminations.
T o confuse the two is to strengthen pathological defences and
One further word about 'the liberation of aggression'. Freud
pointed out that man has no choice but to direct his aggression
either against himself or against externa1,objects. One has the
impression that this point is well borne in mind, but it is not
always remembered that the quantity of aggression depends
to a high degree on the quantity of anxiety and frustration.
Not to take this into account means to direct one's attention
more to consequences than to causes.
The misunderstandings dealt with here may be summed up as
the confusion between health and hypomania, since the pseudo-
independence (the denial of dependence) and the pseudo-
liberation of the instincts (the denial of guilt-feelings) belong
to the main characteristics of mania.' If we control our own
tendencies to mania we shall also know how to refrain from
stimulating analysands-whether or not the latter possess the
tendency to 'flee to health'-to make use of the same defence.
1 As to its specific forms, I have referred, above all, to erotomania and
recriminatory mania, which, in their mild forms, might be confused with
Counterresistance and Interpretation1
In our analytic work it occasionally happens that we see and
understand something in the patient which seems important to
us, but we do not reveal it to him. At times this abstention
seems advisable: we feel we are complying with the rules
governing interpretation. But at other times this is not the case;
we are aware of an emotional factor within us which prevents
us from communicating what we have perceived, as, for in-
stance, a fear of hurting the patient or causing him too much
anxiety, a fear of losing him or of provoking an excessive
'positive' or 'negative' transference response. I n such cases the
doubt may arise as to whether our abstention was really
objectively justified or was merely a rejection produced by
subjective factors, a 'counterresistance' opposing the interpre-
Observation shows that these counterresistances usually
coincide with resistances in the patient that concern the same
situation. Sometimes it is as though there were a tacit agree-
ment between analyst and patient, a secret understanding to
keep quiet about a certain topic.
These observations are frequently accompanied by the
feeling that the situation in question-seen but not inter-
preted-is precisely the most urgent one at the moment. This
would mean that the counterresistance not merely referred to,
but corresponded to one of the patient's central conflicts.
Personal experience and reflection confirm what this feeling
suggests and create the impression that such counterresistances
become an important subject of analytic technique. O n the
other hand, as my field of observation is rather limited, I can
affirm nothing about the frequency of these phenomena, a
matter which would require the collective experience of many
The following questions now present themselves: What do
1 Presented at the Annual Symposium of the Argentine Psycho-
analytic Association, April 1956.Reprinted from 3. Amcr. P.rychoanu1.
Assoc. (1958)' 6.
the counterresistanccs mean? Where do they come from? How
are we to overcome them and so communicate what has
hitherto been silenced?
I should like to start with a simple illustration, drawn from a
control analysis. I t refers to a patient whose analysis was
characterized, during the first period, by the stereotyped nature
of the material, his current conflict with his fiancte. One day,
however, the situation changed. The patient started the
session by saying that he had felt anxiety on approaching the
analyst's house and that this anxiety was very similar to what
he usually felt towards his fiancke. Later he spoke of his guilt-
feelings over 'details' of his life, as for instance, when he had
come to the session without having been able to bathe and
change his clothing. He added that he feared, considering the
magnitude of his guilt, his analysis might last indefinitely.
Something important and long-awaited had happened. The
patient had begun to see and openly admit that the analyst
existed for him, clearly expressing that he was afraid the
analyst might discover what the patient regarded as dirty
within himself. The dirtiness had various meanings, standing
especially for what was despised and destroyed within him,
though also for what was destructive. This was indicated by
the guilt-feelings. The patient's fear that the treatment might
last for ever sprang precisely from this source. He thought he
was irreparable because he was so thoroughly destroyed, and
also because he felt so destructive.
The candidate had already pointed out something of all this
to the patient when there occurred the above episode. At a cer-
tain point the candidate realized that the patient really feared
that his fantasy of dirtying the analyst would be revealed. I t
was at the point when he wanted to tell the patient, 'You are
afraid I shall find out you want to dirty me,' that he felt a
certain anxiety and an inhibition in interpreting. The candidate
recognized that he feared his interpretation might provoke ex-
cessive anxiety in the patient. His first thought was that such an
interpretation would be premature and were better postponed.
But a moment later he understood that possibly it was not pre-
mature but most certainly was incomplete. The desire to dirty,
the aggressive feelings, had been fully taken into account in
this interpretation, as had also one aspect of the patient's ego
reaction- the fear of being found out. However, what had not
been acknowledged by the candidate were the patient's positive
feelings, his affection for the analyst, nor yet another aspect of
his ego reaction, his anxiety ovcr the danger of doing the analyst
harm. Indeed, the patient was horriJicd at harbouring such
hostile impulses towards a pcrson he loved. And now to give the
interpretation in full produced neither anxiety nor resistance
in the candiate, for he understood the paticnt; he understood him
in his anxiety, in his fcar of losing the analyst, in the need hc
felt of him and also in his good feelings towards him.
What does this simple example show us?
( I ) The counterresistance (namely, the rejection the analyst
felt against interpreting the patient's desire to dirty him) indi-
cated the patient's most important transference conflict at the
(2) The anxiety and counterresistance were the expression of
the analyst's identification with the anxiety and resistance he
sensed in the patient.
(3) The counterresistance wm due to t h e ~ k that
t the understanding
contained in the intended interpretation was incomplete. As soon as the
analyst was able to complete the interpretation, the counter-
resistance disappeared. Experience shows, besides, that such
completed interpretations do not generally provoke great
resistance (if any) in the patient either.
(4) I n so far as the interpretation was complete, its postpone-
ment became supefluous and would, then, only have meant a
waste of time.
Let us observe another example. An analyst was in the early
stages of treating a patient whose emotional blockage provoked
in him boredom and sleepiness. The analyst perceived that his
boredom was the response to thc patient's most important trans-
ference situation a t the moment. But at the same time he felt an
inhibition about discussing this situation with the patient, for he
sensed that the latter would feel very much rejected, and
become very much depressed upon knowing the effect he
produced. We may also say, roughly speaking, that the analyst
did not wish to show his 'negative countertransference' resulting
from the 'negative transference' of the patient. But then-and
this was the decisive point-the analyst perceived that there
was simultaneously a positive countertransference situation
which had already played a part in his desire not to wound the
patient and which expressed itself besides in his wish that the
latter should change, that he should overcome his lifeless state
in his relationship with the analyst and be alive with him. The
analyst grasped, moreover, that this wish not only reflected a
desire within the patient's inner objects (parents) but was, a t
the same time, a desire within the subject himself. The positive
countertransference was, then, a response to the analysand's
latent positive transference. I n this way theanalyst had perceived
besides the situation then Present in the patient (his emotional
emptiness or death), the latent complementary situation, a
possible situation hoped for in the future: that of the resurrection
of his buried love. I t was then that the analyst was also able
to give an adequate interpretation by telling the patient that
the latter was very much concerned about the matter of his
feeling so little, that his deepest wish was to live his relationship
with the analyst more intensely and that he was greatly
troubled by guilt on this score, and longed to overcome his fear
of his emotions, his fear of reviving the strong emotions which,
it had been seen, he had felt towards his parents as a boy.
This was only the beginning of the analysis of this situation.
But the example serves to show us certain causes of counter-
resistance and hence how it can be overcome. The counter-
resistance was once again a co-resistance, a participation by the
analyst in a resistance of the patient which sprang from the
latter's guilt-feelings over his lack of feeling. The problem was
solved the moment the analyst took this resistance sufficiently
into account, i.e. the patient's ego which did not wish to
recognize this emotional death. Thus the counterresistance
persisted for only so long as the interpretation in mind was
incomplete. As soon as the analyst also perceived the other part
of the patient, the part that preferred to love and, in reality, was
already loving through this very desire to love, the counter-
resistance was surmounted and the interpretation given pro-
voked no resistance.
Before proceeding further, I should like to return a moment
to a statement I made above. I said that the analyst had under-
stood that his wish for the patient to be more alive with him not
only reflected a wish of the patient's inner objects or parents but
also a desire within the subject himself. It is of importance to
understand that every wish for life that arises in the analyst with
regard to the patient is also a wish for life in the patient himself.
This is based on two facts. First, the parents' desires for life as
regards their child reflect a like desire in the child himself, and
secondly, that the good image of the parents is a depository of
the child's own Eros. In practice this means that the analyst's
identification with the patient's inner objects not only indicates
what the latter feel and desire but also what the child himself
feels and desires. Hence it follows, as regards our main subject,
that all the desires of the analyst that the patient should over-
come his resistance are also desires of the patient himself. And
as regards therapy, this means that through interpretation, one
has to give back to the patient this manifestation of his life
instinct, which he had put into the analyst. In the interpre-
tation of the last example this was effected by pointing out to
the analysand his desire to recover an emotionally rich relation-
ship with the analyst.
Hitherto we have been considering counterresistance as an
identification by the analyst with a resistance of the patient's.
This is its objective root. But in every counterresistance there is
also a subjective factor, for these identifications with the patient
and their fate also depend on the analyst's psychological struc-
ture. The example that follows will take into account this sub-
jectivt root of co~ntewesiSt(Lnct. Besides, whereas the previous
examples illustrated counterresistance in relation to 'negative'
aspects of transference, the following one will refer to counter-
resistance in relation to a 'positive' one.
The case in question is that of a patient who came to analysis
because of his marked emotional blockage and aloofness,
senting great difficulties in treatment, above all because o his
shutting off interpretations. He did not listen to them or
declared that he had straightaway forgotten them, etc. At the
same time he complained insistently that he was getting no
better, that he was unable to feel anything, least of all affection
or admiration for the analyst who, he said, Ircrd not given him
anything. In one of these sessions the analyst was aware of the
thought that he went on listening and interpreting with toler-
ance and patience in spite of the fact that the patient rejected
or nullified everything he said. The analyst also understood
that the patient perceived this positive attitude in him and, at
bottom, reacted to it with love and admiration. I t was in
relation to this understanding that the counterresistance to
interpreting arose. On the one hand, it stemmed from a feeling
of guilt and inhibition in the analyst about speaking of his own
virtues, and on the other hand from the analyst's identification
with the patient's anxiety and resistance against accepting a
relationship with an object experienced as superior and good,
since this implied his own inferiority and guilt, in view of the
envy and hatred towards this admired and loved image. This
understanding enabled the analyst to overcome his counter-
resistance. He thereupon gave the interpretation that the
patient was thinking with admiration and gratitude of how the
analyst went on treating him with patience and tolerance in
spite of the former's insistent destructive reaction towards all
the efforts the latter was making on his behalf. H e also pointed
out to the patient, in the above-mentioned terms, why he was
rejecting this relationship with the analyst (feelings of humili-
ation, envy, and, above all, guilt).
This interpretation provoked a different reaction. 'Something
opened up inside me,' said the patient. 'What I always feared
most here was to burst into tears.'
Here we see how the patient begins to admit his love and
recognize the goodness in his objects as well as his own guilt-
feelings towards them. This was possible because the analyst
had overcome the counterresistance in question and had been
able to complete his interpretation. The counterresistance
stemmed, as I have said, from the identification with the
patient's anxiety and resistance, but it was intensified by the
analyst's own archaic guilt-feelings. The patient was able to
accept his own infantile feelings of love and guilt only when the
analyst was able to accept being the loved one and the creditor.
This chapter deals with the resistances which may arise in the
analyst against communicating to the patient points he has
observcd or comprehended. These 'counterresistances' indicate
(as do the patient's resistances against communicating certain
thoughts) the most important conflicts within the patient. For
the counterresistances are as a rule the expression of the ana-
lyst's identification with the patient's resistances, even though
they may at the same time be related to a conflict within the
The patient's resistance to an interpretation shows, according
to Freud, that the latter has been incomplete. Analogously, the
counterresistancc to giving an interpretation means that the
understanding it embodies is as yet incomplete. The cause of
these counterresistances thus often lies in the fact that the under-
standing in question embraced only part of the patient's person-
ality. The understanding may, for instance, have referred to the
id, without having taken the ego sufficiently into consideration,
or may have referred to an aggressive tendency of the patient's
without having included the reaction of his libidinal wishes.
The importance of the analyst's perceiving these counter-
resistances and overcoming them may be essential, for they are
usually responses of his to decisive transference conJIicts within the
patient. Besides, the postponement of interpretations, deemed
premature, is also frequently due to these countemsistances. In
such cases, these interpretations are not really 'premature', but
simply incomplete. By completing them, considerable loss of
time may be avoided.
The means whereby such counterresistances are to be over-
come follows from the above: discovering what had been over-
looked in the patient's personality, i.e. the cause of the patient's
resistance which the analyst had already sensed and echoed in
his own counterresistance.

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Heimann, P. (1g50), 'On countertransference.' Znt. J. Psycho-Anal., 31.
-- (1956). 'Dynamics of transference interpretations.' Znt. 3. Psycho-
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Kemper, W. ( I 954). 'Die Gegeniibertragung, grun&tzliches und prak-
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Klein, M. (1932). IhC Psycho-Ady.k of Children (London: Hogarth).
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Znt. 3. Psycho-Anal., 3I.
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ABRAHAM K.,, 21,167 Anxiety (-ties)
Abreaction, 8,1o, 38 in the countertransference,
Abstinence, rule of, 68-69, 64-67, I I I , 115,125,141-
I 26 142, 161, 167
'Activity'/'passivity', analyst's, paranoid and depressive, 73,
28-38 100,161-62
Acting-out about study of countertrans-
analyst's, 68-69, I 14, 129, 144 ference, 130
patient's, 56, 69 Argentine Psychoanalytic As-
Aggression (Aggressiveness), 64, sociation and Institute, x-xi,
67,743 85,879 97, 11 7, '35, 43
139, 145, 147-48, 162 Attention, free-floating (evenly
in the countertransference, suspended), I 7,26,29,142
135,157,162-68, 172
'liberation' of, I 85
psycho-analysis as, 185 BAERBAHIA,A., 54
56979 BALINT,M.,42, 130, I32
American psycho-analytic insti- BERNHEIM, H., 7
tutes, x Blessing, Jacob's, I 80
Analyst Borderline cases, 68
attitude of, 26-33, I 5 I , I 54, Boredom, countertransference,
185,190-9' I 38-40,169- 170, I 88-89
as ideal persecutor, 82-83,84, Breast
87 admiration of, 103-04
masochism of, 65, I I 7- I 8, child's relation to, 79
123, I 74-80 conflicts with, 8 I , I on
neurosis of, I 06-07 envy of, 80-8 I
as parental couple, go-g2,g8 good and bad, 102-03
as patient's superego, 36,74, represented by interpretation,
'40 80- I 04
unconscious mania of, I 81- BREUER, J., 7-8
185 'British School', 23
see also Countertransference,
Analytic situation, 9-91 Cathartic method, 8
'Anna O',7-8, I 2 Censorship, I o
Anxiety (-tics), 2 I , 40,5 I,gq, CESIO,F., I40
187 Character, patient's, 42
CHARCOT, J., 7 Depressive situation, primary/
Childhood recollections, 48, 50, secondary, 83,87, g 1, gg-
54 100
'Classical' technique, 29, 35, 38 denial of, I I g
Compulsion to repeat, see Repe- DEUTSCH H.,
, I 24, i 34, 1 75
tition compulsion 'Dora', 34,35,40-4 1
'Confession', by patient, 35-37 Dream(s), 10, 75
Counterresistance, I g, 41,63- interpretation of, 52-55
65, I37 of anal coitus, 58
and interpretation, 3,186-192 ofAna, secretary, without
Countertransference, 1-4, I & panties, 84
20,26-33,53,55-56,59- of aunt in precarious situa-
69, 127-80 tion, 101-02
concordant/complimentary, of blonde girl, 93
135-37 of brooch, 102-03
importance in training, I 30 of devouring a girl, gg-loo
negative, 63, 145,174-75, of gynaecological operation, 96
I 88-89 of horse and mare, I oo
neurosis, 62,64, I 05-26, I 76 of protecting mother from
and patient's resistances, I 2 I father, 55,88
in psycho-analytic history, of obstacle to a marriage, 95
129-30 of wife being embraced in
Racker's contribution to, x library, 52,92
repression of, I 48-49
uses of, I 8,26,60,63, I 27-73
Ego, '
1, 12, 15' 19,23,27,28,
37,429 43,443 46,473 48858,
Death instinct, 43,gg-100 5g961,62,63,64,65,72,
Defence mechanisms, I I, 2 I , 42, 73'74,759 76,83,85,86,88,
44,493 58,74,85 91, 114, 115,116, 118, 132,
analyst's, I 06, I I 5-1 7 143-44, 146,151-52, 167,
see (JJO Resistance(s) r74,176,189
Dependence/independence, 'bad', 155
I 25-26,182-83 'non-ego' and, I 74
Depressive Ego-ideal, 91, 149
anxieties, 5 1-82 Envy, 80-87,96, 191
experiences, 39 analyst's, I I I- I 2
position, 43 Eras, 44,73, 86998, I 77,184,189
states, 14, 77, 184-85 see also Libido
Depressive-paranoid transfer-
and countertransference, FAIRBAIRN, W.R. D., 57,59,
140-41 '59' '77
Fantasy (ies), I 4, I 6,2 I GARMA,A.,43
masturbatory, 55,94 GITELSON, M., 125, 128, 133,
transference-, 56 '75
Father, 47,499 502 51,543 55, G L O V E RE.,, 41
59,669 74, 77978, 8 4 , 8 9 9 1 , G O E T H E 33
97, 102,137, I77 G O N Z A L E Z ~ 39,A . ,79
see also Penis, father's GRINBERG L.,, 65
Father-analyst, I I 2- I g Guilt-feeling(s), I I , 52-53,65,
Feminine phase, in boys, 83-87 67,81,97,99, IoI-o4,187
F E N I C H E LO.,
, 3, 37, 42, analyst's, I 10, I I 7-20, 123,
I21 '3!3-40, 147-48, 164-65,
F E R E N C ZS.,
I , 21~75,132, 167,168,191
FLIESS, R.,175
Free association, 9, 10,36, 7 I H A N NK E N D EF., , 125
as form of actingsut, 56 H A R T M A N H.,N , 43
FREUD,A.,43 Health, concept of, 24-25
F R E U DS., flight to, 185
Analysis Terminable and Inter- HEIMANN, P.,42,43,54,57,
minable, 3 62, I 24, I 28-29, I 72, I 75, I 78
Beyond the Pleasure Principle, 24, Homosexual desires, I I 2- I 3,
47,483 53 119
on countertransference, I 29 H O R N E YK.,
, 39,79
creative personality of, 34-35 Hypnosis, 7-8
on instinctual freedom, 183 Hysteria, 6-7
on interpretation, 34-35,37,
39240-419 79, '91
Introductory tectures, 25, 75 Ideal persecutor, 36, 82-83, 84,
on melancholia, I 4 I 87, 91
New Jntroductory lecture.^, 30 Identification, 26
oedipal guilt feeling of, 54 analyst with patient, I 7,28,
pre-analytical studies of, 7-9 30, 61, 124, 129, 134, 1439
Studies on Hysteria, 8 190
on technique, 23-60, I 26 with patient's husband, ~ o g
technique of, 91 3,29, 34-35, with patient's objects, 67,
4o-4 1 124, 129, 131, 134, 137,
Fundamental rule 146-479'64, '75
for analyst, I 7, 26 with superego, I 34
for patient, g,20,26,38,71- ~concordant'/'complemen-
72, 112, 151-52 tary', 61, 134-36, 140, I 75-
with internal rejecting
, 43 objects, 72
Identification, with persecutor, as representing genital
83,84,87,9', 162-66 potency, 84
projective, see Projective strength of, 68
identification structural aspect of, 42
I mago (s) timing of, 39-4 I
aggressive, I 62-63 of transference, 56-57, 60,
ego, 96 151, 176
libidinal, 73 used by patient as defence,
maternal, 57,89-90395,989 38-39
107,164 Introjected parents, 72
object, 57,59,85,119-23, analyst's, I I 3- I 4
164-653174 Introjection, I I , 43,62
parental, 14 of mother imago, 89
persecutory paternal, 96 of persecutor, I 63
Impulses, 44,469 48, 75,138 ISAACS, S., 43
Infantile experiences, g- I I, I 3 Isolation of ideas, I I
Instincts, g, 14,15, 16,25,47
derivatives, I o
freedom from, I 83-85 Jacob's blessing, I 80
Internal/external world, qg J O N E S , E., 2 1
Internal objects, see Objects
Interpretation, I , 3, IO-12,16,
17,2o, 21-22,27,33-45; K L E I N ,M., 21,39,40,57,58,
67-69,79- 104 66, 79,8046,97, 103, 141,
content of, 41-43 I 6I
counterresistance and, 105, Envy and Gratitude, 80
138, 186-92 Kleinian theory and technique,
of countertransference, I 72- 23,29,43,8*87
173 Knowledge, patient's uncon-
ofdreams, 52 scious, 27-28
economic aspect of, 42 analyst's, 37-38
effect of countertransference KRIS,E., 43
on, 107-1 I , I 16,128,141-
effect of analyst's unconscious , ix-xi, 5, 43, 109,
L A N C E RM.,
masochism on, I 79-80 I 26
as food, 39 L I B E R M A D.,
N , 56,172
incomplete, 187-92 Libido, 13-14,23,46,47,53,
as manifestation of affection, 57, 86
73 T, 7
L I ~ B E A U LA.,
of objects as parts of ego, 59 'Lightning idea' (Reich), 148
ofpersecutionanxiety,16~ LITTLE,M.,IO~,I~~,I~~
quantity of, 34-39 158, I75
L O E W E N S T ER.,
I N ,43 ideal persecuting, 36
LORAND S.,, 127, 175 internal, 27,43,44,62,64,
65,72,74,78,93,I22, 131,
143,149-50s 155, 188-89
Mania, manic states, roo, I I 5, lost, 139
117, 118, 123, 140, 158, patient as analyst's, 1 I 6- I 7,
181-85 129
see also Primary manic situa- primal, 57
tion union with, 39
Manic defence, 38 Object relations (-ships), 2 I , 42,
Masochism, 68 59, 64, 73,76,78,94-95,
analyst's unconscious, 65, I I 5, 105,182
117-18,123,174-80 analyst's, I 14, I 36, I 77-78
primary, 85 'disconncxion' of, I 54-56
Masturbation, 55 Oedipal
Melancholia, I 39 crime, 94-95
Menninger School, x fantasy, 74
M O MJ,. 9 43 guilt-feeling, 54
M O N E Y - K Y R LR.,
E , 175 situation, 55
Mother, 50,54,'57-58,879 89- Oedipus complex, 78,80, I 75
91' 93, 94-95, 97, 100, counttrtransferencc and,
103 107-12
bad, 120 and interpretation, 87-93
desire for 'pure', I I o negative, I 12-1 3
see also Womb, mother's

Negative therapeutic reaction, anxieties, 5 I , 65,73
66,679 94-104 disposition (analyst's), I 15-
analyst's, I 77 123,164,17843
Neuroses, 6-7, 9, 19,20 experiences, 39
NIETZSCHE, F., I I , 15 ideas, 49
mechanisms, 74
primary/secondary -situa-
Objects . tion, 83385,873 90,9I, 99-
analyst's, I 13-19, 125 I00
analyst's identification with states, 71
patient's, 6 I, 62,64-66, tendencies, I 7
131 Paranoid-depressive situation,
bad, 122,155,168,185 '55, '61,164
early infantile, childhood, 14, Paranoid-schizoid position, 43,
I 18-19 I00
ideal, 82, 182 PAUL,St., 32
Penis Repression, 8, I I , I 3,47,49,61
envy, 96 of countertransference, I 48-
father's, 84,85,87,95-96 149
sadistic, 84-85 Resistance, 8-9, I 1-1 2, 15,20,
Persecutory anxieties, 55,64 4
' 9 '5, 39' 38Y 49' 439 47&
see also Paranoid 50,513 52371-729 74,759
Personality structure, 42 75-76,772 1 10, '38
, 115 countertransference, 63, 106-
Primal scene, 1g,51,55, go, I7
97 countertransference reactions
Primary manic situation, 83, 84, to, 121-23
87,91992 transference, 39-40,42,44,
Projection, I I , 2 7 - ~ 8 ~ 4 3 ~ 5 7 , 49, 53,549 743 77, 144-45
65,729 85,138 Robbery fantasies, see Thieving
Projective identification, 65-66, R O S E NJ., N., 175
Prophylactic measures, 45
Psycho-analyst, see Analyst Sadism, 85,150
de SAUSSURE, R., 34
Screen memories, 54
R A C K E R , G . T . 5,41,56,
~~, Silence, analyst's, 34, 35-36,
79 138
RANK,^., 75 Sloan professorship, x
R A S C O V S KA.,
Y ,43 S P I T Z R.,
, 175
'Rat Man', 34 Splitting, 43Y49
Recollecting, see Remembering of ego, 27, 58,99
Regression, I I- I 2 between good and bad, 102
R E I C HA.,
, 114,128, 129, 133, 'healthy', analyst's, 32,62
I75 of personality, 16,20,44
R E I CH , W., 40,5675, 79,1483 S T E R B AR.,, 75
151-52, I70 S T R A C H EJ.,Y , 29,62,75
R E I K T.9
, 3435-36 Stratification, 2, 79, 99
Relationship, with analyst, 14 Submissiveness, analyst's, I 70
see also Object relations see also Masochism
Remembering, 8-9, 10, 12, 24, Subtransference, I 14-19, 129
48J 49, 5' J 53, 549 75-76Y 78 Suggestion, 7- 8
Reparation, 43 Superego, 36,42,43,57,62, 72,
analyst's need to make, 34 74, 77, 140, 175, '84
Repetition, 23, 24,47,48, 51, in the countertransference,
53975-76 113-19, 122, 14-41, 143,
Repetition compulsion, 14, I 5, 152-55,159-60,165-67
64, 73, 75 Supervision, I 7I
Repre~sedcontents, 42 Symbiosis, analyst-patient, 143
Talionic law neurosis, I 5,46,62
and countertransference, positive, 39,40,45-46, 74,
137-42,154-62 136
and transference, I 66 specific character of, in psy-
Technique cho-analytical situation, 7
aim of, 23-24, 70 'total', 150-54
classical, 29-70 Trauma
history, 6-22 early infantile, 9-1 I
influence of analyst's char-
acterological traits on, 2
'insistencey, g Unconscious, 18,34,37,38,
principles, general and 44'48, 56,573 63, 7 1, 73, 78,
secondary, 25 95,105, II2-13,117,123,
Racker's contribution to, x 128,138, 139, 143, 153, 157,
variations in, 25 161, 170-71
see also Interpretation making the-conscious, 16,
Thanatos, 85,86, I 77 23-24,39,48, 70,759 106
see also Death instinct
Thieving fantasies, 56-58
Training, 22, 130 Vienna Conservatory, ix
Training analysis, analyst, 26,
34,629 115,126
Transference, 1-2, I 2-15, I 8, WEIGERT,E., 128,175
25,268 45-59,639 75, 78 WINNICOTT D.
, W., 125, 127-
and countertransference, 128,172, I75
I 60-6 I Womb, mother's, 80,81
creation of, 14- 15 Working through, 3, 18, 22, 37,
depressive-paranoid, I 40 79287
negative, 39,40,45947,64,
75, 76,779 '37, 174-75,
179,' 88 Z E T Z E LE.,
, 175