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Spitz, R.A. (1956). Transference: The Analytical Setting and its Prototype. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 37:380-385.

(1956). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 37:380-385

Transference: The Analytical Setting and its Prototype

Rene A. Spitz, M.D.

In the following presentation I shall limit my remarks to some aspects of transference and shall concentrate on the theory of its origins. Among the numerous authors who have written on the subject in recent years, I shall single out three for the purposes of the present discussion. They are Ida Macalpine (7), Daniel Lagache (4), (5), (6), and Phyllis Greenacre (2).

Lagache begins his study with an epistemological investigation of the concept of transference. With great lucidity he establishes two dichotomies: the first is that between transference manifestations proper and transference neurosis. The second is between what he calls the 'dynamic' causes versus the 'mechanistic' (or 'spontaneous') causes for the development of transference. This second dichotomy requires a somewhat more detailed description. The 'dynamic' causes for the development of transference are the frustrating interpersonal relations imposed on the patient by the rules which govern the analytical situation. The 'mechanistic' or 'spontaneous' development of transference on the other hand is the consequence of the repetition compulsion. It is due to the narcissistic trauma to which the personality of the patient was originally subjected. Accordingly, the 'spontaneous' development of transference will take place irrespective of the environmental factors.

It is evident that the 'dynamic' concept of transference corresponds closely to transference proper and consequently to its therapeutic potentialities.

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