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Levy, J. (1982). A Particular Kind of Negative Therapeutic Reaction Based on Freud's 'Borrowed Guilt'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 63:361-368.

(1982). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 63:361-368

A Particular Kind of Negative Therapeutic Reaction Based on Freud's 'Borrowed Guilt'

Joshua Levy


Freud's clinical discovery of the negative therapeutic reaction was one of the fundamental reasons for his proposing the Structural Theory of the mind. Yet he and subsequent writers provided very few clinical examples to clarify the definitional components of this significant finding. Consequently, there have been frequent controversies as to the various meanings, manifestations and dynamics of the negative therapeutic reaction. In this paper there was an attempt to illustrate a particular kind of negative therapeutic reaction, based on Freud's explanatory concept of 'borrowed guilt', as he expounded it in The Ego and The Id. For this purpose, excerpts from an analysis before the manifestation of the negative therapeutic reaction, during, and following its resolution, are presented in this paper. This manner of presentation may provide a basis for defining the phenomenon and understanding its dynamics within the analytic process. Hopefully, this paper illustrated both one of Freud's meanings of the negative therapeutic reaction, as well as confirmed his optimistic prediction that when it is based on 'borrowed guilt', its resolution is amenable to analysis.

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