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Greenacre, P. (1966). Problems of Overidealization of the Analyst and of Analysis—Their Manifestations in the Transference and Countertransference Relationship. Psychoanal. St. Child, 21:193-212.

(1966). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 21:193-212

Problems of Overidealization of the Analyst and of Analysis—Their Manifestations in the Transference and Countertransference Relationship

Phyllis Greenacre, M.D.

In this paper I shall limit myself to a relatively small but I believe important area in the vast field of transference and countertransference relationships. I shall deal only with overidealization of the analyst and of analysis. Before discussing this specific problem, however, I want to say a few words about the development of transference in general for it is a basic and most sensitive tool in the work of psychoanalysis, and its neglect or mishandling may interfere with the successful course of therapy by those who understand other aspects of psychoanalysis quite well.

The phenomenon of "transference" seems to be omnipresent in human relationships (Greenacre, 1954). It is based on two essential psychological ingredients: first, the difficulty of the individual to exist long in emotional isolation; and second, the capacity to shift or transfer patterns of emotional relationship from one person or situation to another, provided there is a connecting link of some similarity between them.

The imperative nature of the demand for human contact was brought home to us in a dramatic way some years ago by the pediatric observations of foundlings (Bakwin, 1942). The efforts to improve the lot of these infant waifs had been focused mostly on bettering their physical care in the early months of life, in order to give them as good a start as possible before placing them for adoption. It was obvious from this investigation, however, that babies

Presented at the Pan-American Psychoanalytic Congress, Buenos Aires, August 2, 1966.

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