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Tuckett, D. (1989). A Brief View of Herbert Rosenfeld's Contribution to the Theory of Psychoanalytical Technique. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 70:619-625.

(1989). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 70:619-625

A Brief View of Herbert Rosenfeld's Contribution to the Theory of Psychoanalytical Technique

David Tuckett

The aim of this paper is to try to highlight some of the contributions I think Herbert Rosenfeld made to the theory of how psychoanalysis works. To do this I shall try to draw out several preoccupations in his writing which seem to me paramount. I believe Herbert Rosenfeld made a very major contribution to psychoanalysis throughout the whole of his lifetime and one whose importance is likely to grow rather than fade, be it among his Kleinian colleagues or those from other clinical and theoretical orientations.

A convenient starting point for understanding Rosenfeld's approach to how psychoanalysis works is his analysis of the psychotic patient, Mildred, some details of which he published in his first psychoanalytic paper (Rosenfeld, 1947) and whose treatment began not long after Rosenfeld began a (second) training analysis with Melanie Klein. Rosenfeld himself believed that several of his previous experiences were important, but that it was in Mildred's analysis that he began more precisely to lay the foundations of his theory of technique (Rosenfeld, 1987p. 13). His technique was based, first and foremost, on trying to help the patient become aware of his psychic reality in the session with his analyst. Rosenfeld would attempt to make his patients aware of what he thought they communicated to him of their experience in the session and of the system of ideas they had which governed that experience and awareness. Like other Kleinian colleagues Rosenfeld regarded this technique as analysing the transference and never altered his view of it as the central aim of psychoanalytic treatment.

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