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Adler, G. (1980). Transference, Real Relationship and Alliance. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 61:547-558.

(1980). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 61:547-558

Transference, Real Relationship and Alliance

Gerald Adler

The purpose of this paper is to attempt to expand our understanding of the concepts of transference, real relationship and alliance in all patients, based upon an examination of the recent literature about borderline and narcissistic personality disorders and clinical experiences with them. I shall delineate a developmental sequence that culminates in the patient's capacity to form a therapeutic alliance. It includes a study of the primitive or self-object transferences (Kohut, 1977) that these patients form and its relationship to their evolving capacity to observe and utilize the objective qualities of the therapist ultimately to develop a mature therapeutic alliance that can withstand the vicissitudes of intense affects, impulses, wishes and conflicts. It also includes a discussion of the relationship of these self-object transferences to the analysis of all patients and the formation of the usual neurotic dyadic and triadic transferences.

The concepts of alliance, transference, self-object transference, and real relationship are complex, interrelated and often confusing (Greenson, 1965); (Lipton, 1977). It is generally acknowledged that alliances derive from transference and relate to certain successful childhood experiences and developmental achievements, which obviously include relationships with people, both past and present. Since the separation of these concepts is important theoretically and clinically, I shall define the ways in which I shall utilize some of these terms.

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