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Gabbard, G.O. (1996). The Analyst's Contribution To The Erotic Transference. Contemp. Psychoanal., 32:249.

(1996). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 32:249

The Analyst's Contribution To The Erotic Transference

Glen O. Gabbard, M.D.

AT THE MAY 1991 ANNUAL MEETING of the American Psychoanalytic Association, I chaired a panel called "Hate in the Analytic setting." During my opening comments, I introduced the four panelists as "the most hated men in psychoanalysis." At the conclusion of my introduction, Merton Gill stood up in the audience (even though I had not opened up the floor for questions) and said, "Dr. Gabbard, you offended me." My heart sank as I contemplated the embarrassing spectacle that was about to unfold. Gill then went on to ask, "Why wasn't I included in the most hated men in psychoanalysis?" A hearty round of laughter in the audience broke the uncomfortable silence, and the panel proceeded.

Although Gill's assessment of himself was perhaps exaggerated, it is nonetheless true that his writing did often inflame the passions of the more conservative psychoanalytic thinkers. Gill was a major contributor to the shattering of the objectivist, logical-positivist view of the psychoanalytic situation. Just as Copernicus enraged his fellow astronomers by asserting that the earth was not in fact the center of the solar system, Gill (1982), (1994) suggested that the facts within the analytic process are not objectively observed in an authoritative manner by the analyst, but rather are a matter of agreement between the analyst and analysand. Consider the following statement: "The classical definition of transference is false even on purely logical grounds. For it is the analyst who declares what the transference is, and surely a basic tenet of psychoanalysis is that we can never be unequivocally certain of our own motivations. His declaration therefore must be a construction; that is, he has participated in its formation" (Gill, 1994p. 36). In declaring the participation of the analyst in the patient's transference as inevitable and irreducible, Gill had a profound impact on subsequent developments in modern psychoanalysis. There is now widespread acceptance of the notion that psychoanalysis is, at least in part, a two-person psychology.


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Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Vol. 32, No. 2 (1996)

- 249 -

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