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Heimann, P. (1956). Dynamics of Transference Interpretations. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 37:303-310.

(1956). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 37:303-310

Dynamics of Transference Interpretations

Paula Heimann

In 1919 Freud (3) wrote: 'We have formulated our therapeutic task as one of bringing to the knowledge of the patient the unconscious repressed impulses existing in his mind and, to this end, of uncovering the resistances that oppose themselves to this extension of his knowledge about himself.'

This definition of psycho-analytic therapy still holds good. Advance in psycho-analytic work has proved the truth of the theories embodied in it. To paraphrase those germane to the present paper: mental illness is caused by unconscious conflicts, the clashes between instinctual impulses and what is opposed to them. Mental recovery depends on conscious work on these conflicts, and this work proceeds through the medium of the patient's emotional relation with his analyst. Psycho-analytic therapy is thus directed towards the patient's ego.

Freud's definition of psycho-analytic therapy anticipated his systematic formulations of the nature and functions of the ego and its interaction with the other mental systems (4), but his earlier work (1), (2) had already presented the basic principles governing mental processes. Perception and motor action are the two poles of the mental apparatus, perception initiating mental activity and controlling physical activity. Between these poles is the realm of attention, the readiness for perception, memory, the store of past perceptions which is used in fresh perceptive acts and conscious associative thought, leading to correct assessment of inner and outer conditions.

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