Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To keep track of most cited articles…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

You can always keep track of the Most Cited Journal Articles on PEP Web by checking the PEP Section found on the homepage.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Cooper, S.H. (1996). Neutrality And Psychoanalysis: Separation, Divorce, Or A New Set Of Vows?. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 44:1017-1019.

(1996). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 44:1017-1019

Neutrality And Psychoanalysis: Separation, Divorce, Or A New Set Of Vows?

Steven H. Cooper

As pluralism thrives in American psychoanalysis, there may be no more controversial and complicated concept in our theory of technique than that of neutrality. While some wish to redefine neutrality within a contemporary classical perspective, as an ideal worth aspiring to, others suggest that we do away with the concept altogether and develop ways of better understanding our inevitable participation and influence. Still others, suggesting a major revision of the concept of neutrality, attempt to delineate the dialectical tensions between danger and safety, new and old object experiences, and analytic discipline and personal expressiveness within the analytic process. In many ways, the debate about neutrality among contemporary psychoanalysts hinges on whether its pursuit as a technical ideal is helpful or counterproductive during the analytic process.

For many years, the analyst was regarded as having, like any good mammal, a well developed capacity for homeothermia. The ideal of the neutral analyst expressed the analyst's aggregate emotional cognitive capacity for regulating his or her own body temperature despite wide variations in the surrounding medium. This involved, in the case of analysis, the affective, conflict-laden, surround. In the most extreme view, the neutral analyst worked within the blank-screen model, akin to Aristotle's “unmoved mover.” However, even within American ego psychology over the last thirty years, most elaborations of the analyst's neutrality have involved less the analyst as an impersonal participant than as one aspiring to be more “objective and mature.”

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.