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Wolf, E.S. (1993). Disruptions of the Therapeutic Relationship in Psychoanalysis: A View from Self Psychology. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 74:675-687.

(1993). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 74:675-687

Disruptions of the Therapeutic Relationship in Psychoanalysis: A View from Self Psychology

Ernest S. Wolf


The progression of the therapeutic process in clinical psychoanalysis is, characteristically, punctuated by a series of breaches in the otherwise collaborative analytic relationship of analyst and analysand. In this paper, these disruptions are conceptualised from the point of view of self psychology. A focus on the subjective aspects of the analytic relationship, i.e. the selfobject experiences in the transference, illuminates the vicissitudes of the emergence, maintenance and transformation of the

self. The analytic process proceeds against an unconscious conflict between the fears of repeated injury and the longing for needed selfobject experiences. Disruptions occur when analysands perceive the analyst to be less attuned to their issues and more involved in the analyst's own agenda. Acknowledgement of the analysand's subjective view as a valid experience must precede the interpretation of the relational dynamics before it can effectively lead to a restoration of the process.

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