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Maniadakis, G. (2015). Landscapes of therapeutic encounter. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 24(3):133-134.

(2015). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 24(3):133-134


Landscapes of therapeutic encounter

Grigoris Maniadakis

Some weeks ago, I saw Far from men, a film by David Oelhoffen based on a short story by Albert Camus. In this film, Daru, a colonial schoolteacher, is given the task of conducting Mohamed, a young Arab farmer accused of killing his cousin, from a remote mountain plateau to town for a law suit. While they cross the rocky desert landscape, menaced by both colonial militaries and native retaliators, Daru responds to Mohamed's helplessness with growing empathy as he gradually realizes the extent to which the young Arab is trapped between pressing needs, such as hunger, and harsh clan laws. Finally, he is able to give Mohamed the liberty of a choice between going to trial and fleeing to a new beginning. Daru himself seems to have gained in insight from this journey, through which he is “transferred” to landscapes of his own past.

If we reflect on a possible metaphorical dimension of this film, we can think of the encounter between the analyst and the patient – a transferential and countertransferential journey in a shared landscape. Freud wrote that “transference … creates an intermediate region between illness and real life through which the transition from the one to the other is made” (Freud, 1914, p. 153).

Transference is not a phenomenon specific to psychoanalytic therapy. In this volume of International Forum of Psychoanalysis, Salomon Resnik, in his article “Transferring and transference,” reminds us that transference arises in all human relationships, just as it does between the therapist and the patient.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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