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Bollas, C. (1983). Expressive Uses of the Countertransference—Notes to the Patient from Oneself. Contemp. Psychoanal., 19:1-33.

(1983). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 19:1-33

Expressive Uses of the Countertransference—Notes to the Patient from Oneself

Christopher Bollas, Ph.D.

AN ANALYST'S COUNTERTRANSFERENCE IS A CONTINUOUS internal response to the presence of an analysand that necessitates a different kind of attentiveness of the analyst's part from that which he gives the patient. Although many patients create through the transference an environment that is favorable to the analyst's good enough state of mind, we are more mindful these days of those patients who represent their existence through the other's moods and thoughts, and, such a countertransference will compel the analyst to take himself as the object of interest, insight, and quite possibly of "cure".

Like many clinicians these days I entertain the possibility that for differing reasons and in varied ways analysands recreate their infantile life in the transference in such a determined and unconsciously accomplished way that the analyst is compelled to relive elements of this infantile history through his countertransference. Patients may enact fragments of a parent inviting us unconsciously to learn though experience how it felt to be the child of such a parent, and ironically, they may almost violently hyperbolize that


Copyright © 1983 W.A.W. Institute

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Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Vol. 19, No. 1 (1983)

1 Early versions of this paper were presented to the Istituto di Neuropsichiatria Infantile at the University of Rome, during 1980–81. I wish to acknowledge the support and generative criticism of Professor Adriano Gianotti and Professor Andreas Giannakoulas. It appeared in its last form at the International Seminar "Nuovi Orientameni Sul Problema Dell'Espressione Nella Pratica Terapeutica" at the University of L'Aquila on 13th May 1982. I would like to express my appreciation to the conference organizers for inviting me and for their critical contribution to this paper; in particular, I thank Professor Maurizio Bonicatti and Paola Natali.

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