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Izner, S.M. (1975). Dreams and the Latent Negative Transference. Ann. Psychoanal., 3:165-177.

(1975). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 3:165-177

Dreams and the Latent Negative Transference

Sanford M. Izner, M.D.

To recognize, understand, and permit working through of the negative aspects of the transference neurosis often poses difficult problems in psychoanalytic treatment. This is especially true for negative elements that remain latent and obscure throughout the course of analysis.

Sterba (1927), among others, has demonstrated very lucidly the difficulties in recognizing and managing the latent negative transference and has emphasized that the progress of analysis may often be impeded by hostile feelings that have not been brought to light and interpreted. Freud (1925a), in summing up the vicissitudes of transference, had this to say: “… so long as it is affectionate and moderate, it becomes the agent of the physician's influence and neither more nor less than the mainspring of the joint work of analysis. Later on, when it has become passionate or has been converted into hostility, it becomes the principal tool of the resistance” (p. 42).

Freud (1915b) has also pointed out that the only way we have of recognizing unconscious processes is “under the conditions of dreaming and of neurosis” (p. 187). I shall here confine the discussion to elements of the transference that are principally negative and latent in character and their relation to dreaming.

We will assume that negative or hostile feelings during analysis may be characterized by expressions of direct and overt hostility, avoidance, denial and negation, some instances of acting out, and overt and conscious breaches of the fundamental rule, along with more subtle forms of expression too numerous and varied to require mention.

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