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Gilmore, K. (1996). Transference Neurosis and Psychoanalytic Experience. By Gail S. Reed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. 1994. Pp. 252.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:628-632.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:628-632

Transference Neurosis and Psychoanalytic Experience. By Gail S. Reed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. 1994. Pp. 252.

Review by:
Karen Gilmore

In this dense volume Gail Reed addresses the concept of transference neurosis, tracing its historical importance theoretically, politically and clinically, and then crafting a contemporary definition. She begins with Freud's assertion of the central position of the transference neurosis as the sine qua non of a psychoanalysis in ‘Remembering, repeating and working through’ (1914, S.E. 12), a view that persisted throughout his writings; the transference neurosis was the touchstone that distinguished psychoanalysis as a treatment from other modalities. Subsequent controversy within mainstream psychoanalysis has cast doubt on the continued usefulness of the term, reflected in the decline from unanimity to dissent in the twenty years between two panels on the subject as reported in the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association (Shaw, 1991, 39: 227-240; Panel, 1971, 19: 22-97).

In this contribution, Reed unequivocally positions herself within that mainstream, i.e. a modern Freudian analyst surveying the scene within the realm of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Furthermore, she acknowledges her partisan position in favour of retention of the concept from the outset. Accordingly her goals are the examination of the current intramural debate about the transference neurosis and the synthesis of a contemporary definition.

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