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Körner, J. (1989). Transference and Countertransference—A Contemporary German Perspective. Contemp. Psychoanal., 25:258-267.

(1989). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 25:258-267

Transference and Countertransference—A Contemporary German Perspective

Jürgen Körner

AFTER SEVERAL YEARS OF SILENCE and reclusiveness, following 1946, the Deutsche Psychoanalytische Gesellschaft (DPG) began to reorient itself and to alter some of its basic theoretical tenets. Since the DPG now finds itself in the middle of a discussion about basic questions concerning treatment-methods, the preservation of its traditions and some political issues as well, my attempt at describing its current positions is prone to encounter difficulties. I will try to illustrate the history of this productive development by discussing the recent evolution of the concepts of transference and countertransference in our societies. Let me begin with a brief review of the original position.

In 1910 Karl Abraham founded the predecessor of the DPG, the Berlin Psychoanalytic Association (BPV). In 1920 he and Max Eitingon started the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute (BPI), the first training institute of its kind. It served as a model for the institutes in Vienna and in Budapest which were founded two years later. With the advent of the national socialistic government in 1933, psychoanalysts, especially those who were Jewish, came under increasing political and economic pressure, and had to fear for their lives. Non-Jewish psychoanalysts watched their Jewish colleagues forced first to leave the governing board, then the membership of the BPI, and finally forced to flee their homeland altogether. Most of the few who stayed on died in concentration camps or were jailed as political prisoners.

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