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Wallerstein, R.S. (1967). Reconstruction and Mastery in the Transference Psychosis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 15:551-583.

(1967). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 15:551-583

Reconstruction and Mastery in the Transference Psychosis

Robert S. Wallerstein, M.D.

ON BOTH CLINICAL and theoretical grounds the transference neurosis has long been established as the central technical and conceptual vehicle of psychoanalysis as a therapy. The usual course of psychoanalysis and of the development of this regressive transference reaction is characterized by the familiar reactivation within the analysis of earlier (i.e., infantile) experiences and also of earlier (i.e., infantile) modes of reacting to and mastering those experiences. At times this reactivation within the analytic transference can (temporarily anyway) sufficiently lose its "as if" quality to become near delusional. Classical analysis is, however, usually protected against such extensive reality distortion by the split, described by Sterba (14) into an observing (introspecting) ego alongside the experiencing ego. It is this observing part of the ego which in its guardian function enables one constantly to maintain distance from, and exert reality mastery over, the transference illusion.

It is the purpose of this presentation to describe the circumstances, in two psychoanalyses, under which this guardian function failed and a severe disorganizing and dereistic episode ensued. The following illustrates what is meant.

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