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Zac De Filc, S. (1992). Psychic Change in the Analyst. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 73:323-328.

(1992). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 73:323-328

Psychic Change in the Analyst

Sara Zac De Filc

In analysis, when moments of great emotional intensity arise, the asymmetry which is necessary for the continuity of treatment may be endangered.

The clinical case to which I will refer is remarkable for having given rise to a disturbance of this type, one which required an in-depth consideration of countertransference to aid usefulness.

In order to trace the meanings given to the concept of countertransference, it is necessary to begin with a reference to Freud (1910), who saw countertransference as arising in the analyst 'as a result of the patient's influence on his unconscious feelings' (p. 144) and who considered this phenomenon an obstacle in treatment. Beginning with the work of Heimann and Racker the idea of countertransference is extended. According to Heimann (1950), 'the analyst's emotional response to his patient within the analytic situation represents one of the most important tools for his work. The analyst's countertransference is an instrument of research into the patient's unconscious' (p. 81).

Racker (1973) defines countertransference as the totality of the analyst's psychic responses to the analysand and argues that three meanings may be distinguished for countertransference: it may be the primary danger and, at the same time, an important instrument for both the comprehension and the interpretive function of the analyst. Racker adds that furthermore, countertransference influences the attitude and conduct of the analyst within that new part of life marked by the analytic encounter, in which the analysand should meet a greater understanding and objectivity than that s/he has found either in reality or infantile fantasies.

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