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Low, B. (1935). The Psychological Compensations of the Analyst. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 16:1-8.

(1935). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 16:1-8

The Psychological Compensations of the Analyst

Barbara Low

Much has already been written concerning the requirements of the analyst for his work, the problems which beset him in connexion with transference and counter-transference, and the special dangers he is liable to, such as the increase of omnipotence-feelings, and the lowering of super-ego standards, among others. Not as much attention has been given to the problem of psychological 'compensation' for the inevitable deprivations experienced by the analyst. It is true that all are agreed by now on the necessity of an analysis, as complete as possible, for the would-be analyst, but does the recognition take us far enough? The analyst is presumed to be one who can recognize and handle satisfactorily the bias of his own unconscious, and is able to remain master of his own psyche throughout the analysis. In actual fact we know that this is very much a fancy picture, save in the case of the exceptional natures. We know that the analytic situation can be used by the analyst, as it is by the patient, for the gratification of unconscious wishes, especially of those belonging to the pre-genital, and infantile-genital phases (since the latter frequently have been but partially dealt with in the analyst's own analysis); or, it may be converted into what Dr. Edward Glover calls 'a viewing process', thus gratifying the infantile wish to look at forbidden sexual objects; or the analyst may succumb to the temptation of becoming the consoler and saviour—to mention only a few of the usages to which the process may be turned.

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