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Baker, R. (1994). Psychoanalysis as a Lifeline: A Clinical Study of a Transference Perversion. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:743-753.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:743-753

Psychoanalysis as a Lifeline: A Clinical Study of a Transference Perversion

Ronald Baker


Case material from the analysis of a fetishistic cross-dresser is reported. The evolution of a transference perversion and treatment impasse, in the form of the recalcitrant symptom of anal flatulence, is described. The patient's contrasting needs to cling perversely and addictively to the analyst, on the one hand, and to provoke an acting out of the countertransference, on the other, are placed in the context of his dread of rejection and potentially suicidal reaction. The author argues in favour of offering psychoanalysis as a lifeline, but with the condition that the psychoanalytic setting and boundaries are maintained and that gratifications are denied. Limited but precise interpretive psychoanalytic work in the transference was maintained. The relatively good outcome is explained in terms of the provision of safety, survival of the analyst and avoidance of countertransference acting out, which, in the author's view, represents an implicit and mutative transference interpretation, the specific factor in bringing about psychic change. This enabled the patient to recognise and accept the analyst as a 'new' object and, as a consequence, to question and reject his idealisation of the anal universe that he inhabited.

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