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King, P. (1978). Affective Response of the Analyst to the Patient's Communications. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 59:329-334.

(1978). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 59:329-334

Affective Response of the Analyst to the Patient's Communications

Pearl King

I notice with interest that the writers of the three pre-published papers (Arlow, 1977); (Green, 1977); (Limentani, 1977) were not able to deal with the topic of affects by focusing only on the conceptualization and role of the affects in the patients' psychopathology, that is, as a one-person psychology. All three commented in different ways that in the psychoanalytic situation affects have a two-way function. As Rycroft (1956) has pointed out, one of the peculiarities of affects is that they are felt by others and they induce or are expected to induce in others identical or opposing affects. They cannot therefore be experienced by the patient without the analyst becoming, in some way, involved with them and aware of them. How he becomes aware of them and what use he makes, if any, of his awareness brings me to the theme of this paper.

Green (1977) has drawn attention to the tendency of the British school following Marjorie Brierley (1937) to tie primary affective development to object relations and to work in terms of 'object cathexis rather than affective charge of ideas'. This cathexis is assumed to precede differentiation and cognitive discrimination. This approach to the understanding of affects gained support from the work of Middlemore (1941) and Winnicott (1945), (1950), (1953), who both made studies of early mother-child relationships, which focused on the importance of the mother's role in the primary affective development of the infant, emphasizing that the infant cannot be considered in isolation from the mother (or a mother substitute) without whom it could not survive.

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