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Jennings, J.L. (1986). The Revival of "Dora": Advances in Psychoanalytic Theory and Technique. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 34:607-635.

(1986). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 34:607-635

The Revival of "Dora": Advances in Psychoanalytic Theory and Technique

Jerry L. Jennings, Ph.D.


For nearly six decades after its publication in 1905, Freud's remarkable case of Dora remained untouched by critical comment. However, beginning in the early 1970's, an abundance of articles began to appear, which focused exclusively on the Dora case. The present paper reviews the literature of this so-called "Dora revival" in order to explain the historical and theoretical reasons leading to this extraordinary burst of research. Above all, two vital developments in the psychoanalytic discipline created the climate that fostered the Dora revival. First, there was a revolutionary change in attitude toward the phenomenon of countertransference: in contrast to the classical view of countertransference as a disruptive interference in treatment, analysts increasingly regarded countertransference as a pervasive and natural process, which could be potentially utilized to enhance understanding of the patient's unconscious conflicts and defenses. Second, there was enormous and rapid growth of a comprehensive psychoanalytic theory of adolescence and its treatment. Thus, based on a more favorable attitude toward countertransference, and a much improved understanding of the unique problems of adolescence, psychoanalysts could reexamine and better understand the decisive events that contributed to Freud's abortive analytic treatment of Dora.

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