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Countertransference Before Heimann: An Historical Exploration

Holmes, Joshua T (2014) 'Countertransference Before Heimann: An Historical Exploration.' Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 62 (4). pp. 603-629. ISSN 0003-0651

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Abstract

Received wisdom on the history of countertransference rests on two assumptions: Freud said little about countertransference, and what he did say focused on its role as an impediment to analytic work; the emergence in the 1950s of a conception of countertransference as a crucial beneficial component of psychoanalysis was revolutionary and innovative. Both assumptions are questionable. Detailed examination of Freud’s public and private discussions of countertransference reveals that he recognized much of its potential value, as well as its pitfalls, and suggested that the analyst’s contributions should be based on spontaneous affect, measured out consciously. He was aware of the problematic nature of countertransference, calling for a paper on countertransference even while cautioning against its public presentation. His remarks, particularly in letters, taken together with the work of Ferenczi and other early contributors, show that the pre-1950s literature on countertransference prefigured much current debate on the topic.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: countertransference; public and private knowledge; Freud’s letters; history of psychoanalysis; manifest and latent content; reverie
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0500 Psychoanalysis
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2015 10:32
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2015 10:32
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/14168

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