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Kelly, K.V. (1997). Classics Revisited: Heinrich Racker's Transference And Countertransference. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 45:1253-1259.

(1997). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 45:1253-1259

Classics Revisited: Heinrich Racker's Transference And Countertransference

Kevin V. Kelly

Lawrence Friedman outlined the scope and purpose of the discussion boldly, stating in his introduction that “in today's world countertransference is God, and Heinrich Racker is its prophet.” Friedman emphasized that the lasting importance of Racker's contributions—which culminated in Transference and Countertransference, published in English in 1968—was the result of his rigorous theoretical consistency: “Only in Racker do you see what it means for a theory of treatment to take seriously the notion that libido is what human relationships are all about. If he is human, libido must drive the analyst as well as the patient.” Paraphrasing some of Racker's principles, Friedman demonstrated that they resonate also with the work of several contemporary theorists, including Merton Gill, Charles Brenner, Dale Boesky, Owen Renik, Theodore Jacobs, and Roy Schafer. Friedman outlined Racker's application of the central category of countertransference to such closely related categories as transference, resistance, remembrance, repetition, objectivity, neutrality, and interpretation.

Friedman described the panelists as “representatives of three major outlooks, each of which … regards itself as the modern paradigm.” To highlight the differences between them, he listed three challenges to Racker's work that would be posed by the panel.

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