Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To zoom in or out on PEP-Web…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Are you having difficulty reading an article due its font size?  In order to make the content on PEP-Web larger (zoom in), press Ctrl (on Windows) or ⌘Command (on the Mac) and the plus sign (+).  Press Ctrl (on Windows) or ⌘Command (on the Mac) and the minus sign (-) to make the content smaller (zoom out).   To go back to 100% size (normal size), press Ctrl (⌘Command  on the Mac) + 0 (the number 0).

Another way on Windows: Hold the Ctrl key and scroll the mouse wheel up or down to zoom in and out (respectively) of the webpage. Laptop users may use two fingers and separate them or bring them together while pressing the mouse track pad.

Safari users: You can also improve the readability of you browser when using Safari, with the Reader Mode: Go to PEP-Web. Right-click the URL box and select Settings for This Website, or go to Safari > Settings for This Website. A large pop-up will appear underneath the URL box. Look for the header that reads, “When visiting this website.” If you want Reader mode to always work on this site, check the box for “Use Reader when available.”

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

Stern, D.B. (1987). Unformulated Experience and Transference. Contemp. Psychoanal., 23:484-490.

(1987). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 23:484-490

Unformulated Experience and Transference

Donnel B. Stern, Ph.D.

TRANSFERENCE DOES NOT ATTAIN a form compatible with words until that moment in the treatment in which it is described. In fact, the words used to describe transference give it its shape and meaning. Prior to its description transference is not explicitly meaningful. Unformulated transference exists in a vague and indeterminate state which, if it were worded, could be spoken in more than one way, perhaps several ways. And since the description eventually chosen is jointly chosen by patient and analyst, the very shape and character of the patient's transference experience, its warp and woof and not just its meaning, is a product not only of the patient, but also of the analyst, and of the interaction between the two. These points have been approached from several directions in the psychoanalytic literature, especially from the interpersonal perspective. I will approach them through a discussion of language.

Transference is a description of certain aspects of the relationship between patient and analyst, and like any description it is a construction, a composition of elements abstracted from a whole (Schafer, 1983). It is in the interest of putting one foot in front of the other that we ignore in daily living the fact that description, however simple, requires the selection and crystallization of salient details, and their combination and interpretation. Multiple good descriptions of the same phenomenon co-exist. Which is chosen depends upon the deepest purposes that guide our involvement with the phenomenon to be described. In all of life, but with special emphasis in our own field, for "deepest purposes" read "unconscious purposes" or "character style." We can say, then, that which description we choose depends on a great deal more than our conscious orientation. And it is not only the personalities of analyst and patient which are at issue here, but also the part that any particular description of the transference plays in the evolution of the analytic relationship. And finally, the transference itself, as it develops over time, is an influence on its own further understanding.

Even the detailed analytic transaction, which we think of as raw

- 484 -

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2018, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.