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Köhler, L. (1984). On Selfobject Countertransference. Ann. Psychoanal., 12:39-56.

(1984). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 12:39-56

On Selfobject Countertransference

Lotte Köhler, M.D.

That Heinz Kohut opened up new fields of understanding in psychoanalysis with the concept of selfobject has been recognized by both advocates and critics of the psychology of the self. In The Analysis of the Self. Kohut (1971) not only defined the concept of the selfobject transference but went on to delineate the countertransference that may be mobilized in the analyst as a result of the selfobject transference. In his work with Ernest Wolf (Kohut and Wolf, 1978) these concepts were expanded. Wolf (1979) suggested that in analogy to the differentiation between object-instinctual transferences and selfobject transferences, one should also differentiate countertransferences in which the analyst falls in love with or competes with his patient from selfobject countertransferences in which the analyst experiences the patient as a part of his self.

It is my view that our growing understanding of the dynamics of the infaant-caregiver relationship and of the patient-analyst relationship can be enriched by our recognition of these transferences and counter transferences. This paper is an attempt at such an application. It should be regarded as an opening exploration, one which, it is hoped, will stimulate further investigation and intellectual exchange.

Prototypes of Countertransference in the Relation of Chil and Caregiver

Psychic development is no longer studied by considering the growing infant as an isolated individual.

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