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Szasz, T.S. (1963). II. The Concept of Transference as a Defence for the Analyst. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 44:435-443.

(1963). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 44:435-443

II. The Concept of Transference as a Defence for the Analyst Related Papers

Thomas S. Szasz


My aim in this part of my essay has been to develop the thesis that the concept of transference fulfils a dual function: it is a logical

construct for the psycho-analytic theoretician, and a psychological defence for the psycho-analytic therapist. To illustrate and support this thesis, the historical origins of the concept were re-examined. Breuer, it appears, was overcome by the 'reality' of his relationship with Anna O. The threat of the patient's eroticism was effectively tamed by Freud when he created the concept of transference: the analyst could henceforth tell himself that he was not the genuine object, but a mere symbol, of his patient's desire.

Transference is the pivot upon which the entire structure of psycho-analytic treatment rests. It is an inspired and indispensable concept; yet it also harbours the seeds, not only of its own destruction, but of the destruction of psycho-analysis itself. Why? Because it tends to place the person of the analyst beyond the reality testing of patients, colleagues, and self. This hazard must be frankly recognized. Neither professionalization, nor the 'raising of standards', nor coerced training analyses can protect us from this danger. Only the integrity of the analyst and of the analytic situation can safeguard from extinction the unique dialogue between analysand and analyst.

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