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Tip: Understanding Rank

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

When you do a search, you can sort the results bibliographically alphabetical or by “rank”. What is Rank?

Rank refers to the search engine’s “best guess” as to the relevance of the result to the search you specified. The exact method of ranking used varies a bit depending on the search. In its most basic level, when you specify a single search term, rank looks at the density of the matches for the word in the document, and how close to the beginning of the document they appear as a measure of importance to the paper’s topic. The documents with the most matches and where the term is deemed to have the most importance, have the highest “relevance” and are ranked first (presented first).

When you specify more than one term to appear anywhere in the article, the method is similar, but the search engine looks at how many of those terms appear, and how close together they appear, how close to the beginning of the document, and can even take into account the relative rarity of the search terms and their density in the retrieved file, where infrequent terms count more heavily than common terms.

To see a simple example of this, search for the words (not the phrase, so no quotes):

unconscious communications

Look at the density of matches in each document on the first page of the hits. Then go to the last page of matched documents, and observe the density of matches within the documents.

A more complex search illustrates this nicely with a single page and only 15 matches:

counter*tr* w/25 “liv* out” w/25 enact*

There are a lot of word forms and variants of the words (due to the * wildcards) above that can match, but the proximity (w/25) clause limits the potential for matching. What’s interesting here though is how easily you can see the match density decrease as you view down the short list.

The end result of selecting order by rank is that the search engine’s best “guess” as to which articles are more relevant appear higher on the list than less relevant articles.

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

Polledri, P. (2014). Transference and Countertransference Today edited by Robert Oelsner. Published by Routledge, in association with the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London, 2013; 361 pp; £34.99 paperback. Brit. J. Psychother., 30(4):544-547.

(2014). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 30(4):544-547

Transference and Countertransference Today edited by Robert Oelsner. Published by Routledge, in association with the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London, 2013; 361 pp; £34.99 paperback

Review by:
Patricia Polledri

This volume of 17 essays is a collection of contemporary material dealing with the two interrelated subjects, transference and countertransference, that make up the core of psychoanalytic work. As Bion says: ‘When two personalities meet, an emotional storm is created’ (1979, p. 247). I have aimed in this review to focus on what the book offers over and above regurgitating known theoretical concepts on these topics (covered so comprehensively in each chapter), as each author provides distinctive theoretical perspectives in both adult and child patients from Europe, Latin America and North America.

In the Introduction, Oelsner, as editor, sets out what is and what is not deemed to be transference according to its content - as information that circulates between patient and analyst. Not everything the patient brings to analysis is transference, he states, but rather the transference of the patient's total situation from the infantile past to the present needs to be teased out from the totality of the material in the session (p. 4).

In the contributions throughout this volume, Racker is the most often quoted theorist, after Freud, on the subject of transference and countertransference. Racker understands the countertransference to be a receptive organ that captures unnoticed and sometimes silent transferences. He discussed how an analyst's negative countertransference reactions may emanate from the patient, sabotaging the analyst's capacity to contain. This subtle negative transference, if rife with guilt, rivalry and especially envy, can create a perplexing impasse and a frustration of the analyst's desire to cure.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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