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Spitz, R.A. (1956). Countertransference—Comments on its Varying Role in the Analytic Situation. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 4:256-265.

(1956). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 4:256-265

Countertransference—Comments on its Varying Role in the Analytic Situation

René A. Spitz, M.D.

The subject of countertransference has been widely debated; the concept itself is still ill defined. Since Freud first coined the term, despite frequent attempts at its definition both from the pragmatic and from the theoretical viewpoint, no final agreement has been reached on its formulation. We have made no effort to duplicate the excellent historical survey on countertransference by Orr (12). Since Orr's review appeared, Benedek (1), (2) and Racker (13) published further important papers on the subject. For the purposes of the present paper we will give a working definition covering the range of the phenomena of which we intend to speak. Furthermore, we will consider countertransference as something which takes place between two persons, the analyst and his patient.

We will define countertransference as one part of the analyst's relation to his patient; it is one of the determinants of the emotional climate of a given analytic relationship; it usually originates in the analyst; its manifestations are varied. The particular shape it takes is due to the way in which the given patient's personality, his behavior, and the manifestations of his transference act on and are responded to by the given analyst's personality. The response will begin with a dynamic process in the analyst's unconscious. This will translate itself into derivatives, expressed in the attitude of the analyst.

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