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Caper, R. (1995). On The Difficulty Of Making A Mutative Interpretation. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 76:91-101.

(1995). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 76:91-101

On The Difficulty Of Making A Mutative Interpretation

Robert Caper

Beginning with Strachey's formulation of the mutative interpretation as the vehicle of the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis, the author considers what makes a mutative interpretation difficult for the analyst. He concludes that this difficulty stems from a relationship of mutual projective identification between patient and analyst, which produces an atmosphere antagonistic to analysis. By viewing the analytic dyad as a group of two, it is possible to relate this anti-analytic atmosphere to Freud's and Bion's theories of group mentality. The author also concludes that Strachey's ‘auxiliary superego’ is indistinguishable in practice from the analyst's ego, since it is concerned only with ‘real and contemporary’ events, and suggests that our understanding of what is specific to the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis would be simplified and improved if we replaced Strachey's terms ‘auxiliary superego’ and ‘mature superego’ with ‘ego’. A successful mutative interpretation is a victory of ego over superego; this process requires that the analyst free himself from the intellectual deterioration that the fusion of superegos has produced; and this accomplishes one of the purposes of analysis: to help the patient think and feel what is true.

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