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Thomas, S.D. (2003). Talking Man to Man: Transference-Countertransference Difficulties in the Male Same-Gender Analytic Dyad. Brit. J. Psychother., 19(3):335-347.

(2003). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 19(3):335-347

BJP Student Essay Competition 2002

Talking Man to Man: Transference-Countertransference Difficulties in the Male Same-Gender Analytic Dyad

Simon D.R. Thomas

The traditional psychoanalytic focus on the father's primary role in assisting separation from mother in the pre-oedipal phase, and in disidentifying from mother in the oedipal stage of development, is criticized in this paper as being too narrow to comprehensively explain difficulties in male-male relating. It is argued instead that the father has a role to play in his own right as an object of identificatory love for his son, and the process of ‘mutual recognition(Benjamin 1995) is introduced from intersubjective theory as an explanatory framework for this. Failure or breakdown in the process of mutual recognition between father and son is seen as contributing to difficulties in intimacy between men, which are then re-enacted in the male same-gender analytic dyad. Three case vignettes describing transference and countertransference difficulties in a male-male therapy couple are used to clinically illustrate the different theoretical issues discussed.

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