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Anzieu, D. (1986). Paradoxical Transference—From Paradoxical Communication to Negative Therapeutic Reaction. Contemp. Psychoanal., 22:520-547.

(1986). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 22:520-547

Paradoxical Transference—From Paradoxical Communication to Negative Therapeutic Reaction

Didier Anzieu, Ph.D.

WE ARE AWARE OF STUDIES on pathogenic effects of certain kinds of communication, as carried out in the United States at the University of Palo Alto, in Stanford, under the impetus of Gregory Bateson and Don Jackson (1964); these studies became known in France through two publications under the editorship of Paul Watzlawick (1967), (1973). Their implications for psychiatry, or rather anti-psychiatry according to Laing, have been numerous, and have led also to disputes and quarrels, while their applications to psychoanalysis have been practically nil. In France only Racamier (1973) has used these principles with soundness to try and shed some light on the mechanism of humor: however he limited his work to the psychoanalysis of everyday life and did not approach the problem of paradoxical communication in analytic treatment. There are probably several reasons for this omission. New ideas have met with resistance in current psychoanalytic circles, partly because of the noisy passion of the zealots as well as the detractors of paradoxical communication itself. But these are merely bubbles popping up on the surface. At bottom the question concerns theory.

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