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Kron, R.E. (1971). Psychoanalytic Complications of a Narcissistic Transference. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 19:636-653.

(1971). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 19:636-653

Psychoanalytic Complications of a Narcissistic Transference

Reuben E. Kron, M.D.


I have considered some of the psychoanalytic complications of the narcissistic transference. An example is presented of a patient suffering from a narcissistic personality who decompensated in response to threats to his self-esteem and developed an obsessive-compulsive disorder. In the course of the analysis, considerable material suggested the development and working through of a transference neurosis. The patient experienced increasing relief from his disabling obsessive-compulsive symptoms and was able to become more comfortable in social and professional relations. Nevertheless, the events culminating in his abrupt termination after four years of psychoanalysis revealed weakness in the therapeutic alliance and shallowness of his transference love, casting doubts upon the existence of a significant transference neurosis. A retrospective review of the transference phenomena indicates that a predominantly narcissistic transference had developed. The disturbances in the patient's early development and object relations precluded the evolution of a sufficiently strong transference neurosis to sustain the abstinence required by analysis. When the weakness in the transference neurosis is taken into consideration, unusual events leading to termination are better understood.

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