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Kohon, G. (1990). The Uses of Countertransference, by Michael Gorkin, New Jersey: Jason Aronson, 248 pages, £21.50 hb. Free Associations, 1T(19):140-142.

(1990). Free Associations, 1T(19):140-142

The Uses of Countertransference, by Michael Gorkin, New Jersey: Jason Aronson, 248 pages, £21.50 hb

Review by:
Gregorio Kohon

Countertransference has been, and continues to be, one of the most controversial concepts in psychoanalytic theory. Michael Gorkin, who received his analytic training through the Adelphi University Post-doctoral Program, has written an accessible account of what he describes as the practical uses of countertransference.

Gorkin starts his book by offering a succinct review of the theoretical literature on the subject. Freud, Ferenczi, Sullivan, the British School of Object Relations, and other psychoanalytic authors are mentioned in this summary. Gorkin places himself on the side of those authors who use the concept of countertransference in a ‘totalistic fashion’. He says:

… I use the term … to apply to all of the therapist's responses to the patient. But what is of primary interest to me is that type of response which is the counterpart, or expectable, response to the patient's personality and behaviour in the analytic session. Others have called this objective countertransference, and I concur. I distinguish this type of countertransference from the kind of response that is due to the analyst's personal conflicts or idiosyncrasies — sometimes called subjective countertransference.

The author devotes his second chapter to a brief study of Freud's possible countertransference in connection with Ann Lichtein, the subject of ‘The Irma Injection Dream’. Gorkin then moves on to explore the issue of ‘Countertransference as a Source of Information’ for the understanding of the patient.

[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.]

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