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Witenberg, E.G. (1977). The Inner Game of Psychoanalysis. Contemp. Psychoanal., 13:387-398.

(1977). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 13:387-398

The Inner Game of Psychoanalysis

Earl G. Witenberg, M.D.

IT IS OF INTEREST TO SPECULATE about the factors involved in the growing study of the phenomena of countertransference.

As one views society as a whole, one sees increasing openness and candor in all sectors. Concomitant with this mixed blessing, there has been a diminution in the power of authority—whether it be religious or secular, as in the instance of the physician. The breakdown of institutions such as the family, sexual standards, and of government itself has been accompanied by a spate of literature that analyzes authority roles. Once analyzed, they are never the same.

Couple the social pressures ("man is the plaything of social forces defying both his will and his lethargy" [Schwartz, 1976] with the growing maturity of psychoanalysis and you have pressure on the profession to be more open. The widespread acceptance in our field of the fact that each of us can potentially be the other makes us aware of how similar we can be to our patients. We all are more accepting of human frailities than we used to be. It is openly acknowledged that professionals recognize how impossible it is to be a "blank mirror" or be absolutely neutral at all times. With the increasing diversity of the patient population (as indications for psychoanalysis have broadened), has come the realization of the utility of countertransference reactions. The use of face-to-face treatment added to the frequency of countertransference and brought it into fuller use. The seated patient does notice more than the lying one, and does have more of an impact on the analyst.

From the theoretical point of view the disillusionment with the explanatory force of metapsychology (after all—a theory about a theory) led to a push toward a theory of treatment independent of metapsychology.

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