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Goldberg, A. (1977). Some Countertransference Phenomena in the Analysis of Perversions. Ann. Psychoanal., 5:105-119.

(1977). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 5:105-119

Some Countertransference Phenomena in the Analysis of Perversions

Arnold Goldberg, M.D.


When sigmund Freud (1910) initially formulated the concept of countertransference he noted: “We have become aware of the ‘counter-transference,’which arises in him [the analyst] as a result of the patient's influence on his unconscious feelings, and we are almost inclined to insist that he shall recognize this counter-transference in himself and overcome it” (pp. 144-145).

Later he advocated an emotional coldness on the part of the analyst, for his own protection and for the benefit of the patient. This was especially necessary when the patient had fallen in love with the analyst. Indeed, Freud properly emphasized the libidinal components of the transference more and urged the analyst not to look upon the love of the patient as a conquest and not to fall in love with the patient(s) in turn, thus allowing his own impulses to emerge unchecked.

Fenichel (1945), in reviewing the problems of the countertransference, felt that the more dangerous impulses of the analyst had to do with narcissistic rather than libidinal components. It seemed more difficult for the analyst to check and/or comprehend impulses dealing with his own personal regard or esteem than those that dealt with his feelings, be they loving or hostile, toward his analytic patient. The complete literature on this facet of analysis is rich and complex, and will not be reviewed here; rather we will turn directly to the narcissistic components.

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