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Etchegoyen, R.H. (1978). Some Thoughts on Transference Perversion. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 59:45-53.

(1978). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 59:45-53

Some Thoughts on Transference Perversion

Ricardo Horacio Etchegoyen


The thesis of this paper is that perversion should be considered a specific disorder which during psychoanalytic treatment develops a special form of transference.

It was not an easy matter for psychoanalytical research to reveal the essential unity which exists between different perversions and to find the best way to study them. When perversions were approached from the point of view of neurosis or psychosis, their autonomy and defining characteristics were hardly visible.

During the past few years, however, several analysts from diverse schools of thought have begun to study perversion in its own right. These different lines of thought have all pointed to the special type of dissociation of the ego which is specific to perverse patients. The starting point of this development can be found in Freud's (1927) essay on fetishism, and even before. There is surprising agreement on this matter between different authors. 'Verleugnung' and 'Spaltung', the original Freudian concepts, and other, more recent ones, such as 'splitting' or 'dismantling' are now considered invaluable tools for the understanding of perversion.

Under the name of transference perversion the author has gathered together some clinical phenomena which appear regularly during the course of treatment of these patients. Transference perversion is a technical concept, and as such it must be considered in the same category as transference neurosis and transference psychosis. It allows us to study these patients without putting them into the Procrustean bed of transference neurosis.

The erotization of the transference, a special narcissistic object relation which continuously tries to construct an illusory unity between subject and object, and the utilization of both words and silence to make the analyst excited and impatient, appear with clockwork regularity. One also finds a polemical, defiant attitude, latent most of the time, which must be detected and traced back to the splitting of the ego, the confusion between subject and object, and the transformation of impulse into ideology. The author considers this last factor to be of decisive importance.

The last part of the paper illustrates these points, using clinical material.

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