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Meissner, W.W. (1998). Neutrality, Abstinence, and the Therapeutic Alliance. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(4):1089-1128.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(4):1089-1128

Neutrality, Abstinence, and the Therapeutic Alliance

W. W. Meissner, S.J.

Concepts of neutrality and abstinence are discussed in terms of the variant opinions about them, pro and con, with particular reference to efforts to dispense with them based on the unavoidable role of the analyst's personal influence and subjectivity in the analytic process. Stereotypes of both neutrality and abstinence are examined, and the therapeutic alliance established as the most appropriate context within which to articulate the essential and constructive role of effective analytic neutrality and abstinence. The alliance is not possible without the persistent exercise of both neutrality and abstinence; conversely, other components of the alliance are intended to facilitate and preserve neutrality and abstinence on the part of both analyst and analysand. These elements are essential factors in effective analytic practice.

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