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Wassell, B.B. (1957). The Analytic Relationship: Unresolved Transference. Am. J. Psychoanal., 17(1):45-54.

(1957). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 17(1):45-54

The Analytic Relationship: Unresolved Transference

Ben Bohdan Wassell, M.D.

Freud's1 discovery and use of the transference situation has proved to be a major step in psychoanalytic understanding. In the doctor-patient relationship, the patient can express, experience and work through transference reactions—i.e., neurotic attitudes toward his analyst—with soul-searching intensity and convincing insight. This is correlated with work on kindred attitudes toward himself, making for even deeper and broader understanding. Probably the insights gained here account for the deepest changes possible in psychotherapy. Also, the patient can express and cultivate his healthy feelings in the analytic relationship and so strive to become a harmoniously whole and deep-feeling person. A main block to such healthy growth is an unresolved transference, embracing as it does obstructive demands on himself and his analyst. For this reason alone, all the modalities of the transference situation merit ever-broader study. Moreover, our knowledge of transference has a deep meaning for civilization itself; it can shed light on the nature of cooperation between husband and wife, parents and children, teacher and pupil, even between nation and nation. The teacher who speaks of “unobtrusive persuasion” as a guidance method may actually be practicing indoctrination. The parent who demands “respect” may be instilling fear. And what do our diplomats understand by “peaceful co-existence”? The study of transference is crucial to the growing understanding of all relations between individuals and groups.

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