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Lichtenberg, J.D. Slap, J.W. (1977). Comments on the General Functioning of the Analyst in the Psychoanalytic Situation. Ann. Psychoanal., 5:295-312.

(1977). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 5:295-312

Comments on the General Functioning of the Analyst in the Psychoanalytic Situation

Joseph D. Lichtenberg, M.D. and Joseph W. Slap, M.D.

The 1969 Rome Congress paper by Greenson and Wexler (1969) concludes with the hope that further discussion of the nontransference relationship between patient and therapist will have been stimulated. The issue of the nontransference relationship has as its immediate corollary the question: How should the analyst behave within the analytic situation so as to most efficaciously advance the analysis? Unfortunately, this subject remains somewhat embroiled in controversy. Although the basic requirements for the neutrality and relative anonymity of the analyst seem clear, and are generally agreed upon, discussions of these and other aspects of the general functioning of the analyst often arouse apprehension.

Attempts at such discussion have often contrasted “humanness” as a quality of the analyst with the analyst as “mirror,” “research” scientist, or schematic perfectionist “in carrying out the principle of abstinence.” For example, Fenichel (1941) has said: “One analyst wished to forbid analysts to smoke in order that they might be exclusively a ‘mirror.’ I have often been surprised at the frequency with which I hear from patients who had previously been in analysis with another analyst, that they were astonished at my ‘freedom’ and ‘naturalness’ in the analysis.

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