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Cooper, S.H. (1997). Modes Of Influence In Psychoanalysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 45:217-229.

(1997). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 45:217-229

Modes Of Influence In Psychoanalysis

Steven H. Cooper

Anton Kris introduced the panel by paying tribute to Merton Gill's contribution to psychoanalytic theory and technique, and to public debate in psychoanalysis. In relation to the topic of this panel, Kris cited Gill's frequent point of emphasis regarding interpretation and influence, namely, that every interpretation is an action.

Kris traced some of the historical lines related to modes of influence in psychoanalytic technique. He recalled Freud's famous footnote on technique from The Ego and the Id. In describing the treatment of patients with profound unconscious guilt, Freud lamented the lack of any force in the analyst's technical armamentarium sufficient to counteract the power of this intense form of guilt. Freud decided to eliminate from his manuscript a phrase suggesting the analyst's use of his personality in a way that might equal the power of this guilt. Kris pointed out how Freud's decision to eliminate this phrase may have arisen in part out of his positivistic concern that analysis maintain a scientific core. Kris also pointed out how clear was Freud's use of his personality in his actual clinical work (see Kris 1994), despite his attempt to maintain the ideal of a maximally anonymous, allegedly neutral analyst. Indeed, Kris argued that the maintenance of this antiseptic ideal had not served psychoanalysis well. But he suggested that ego psychology has been falsely accused as the culprit for this antisepsis, whereas in fact it attempted to introduce a number of technical modifications subsequently to be developed in contemporary theory.

Kris traced further some of the developments in the public discussion of the analyst's influence.

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