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Atlan, C.L. (1999). Transfert contre-transfert [Transference/Countertransference]: Jean Guillaumin. Paris: Éditions L'Esprit du Temps. 1998. Pp. 266. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 80(5):1053-1055.

(1999). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 80(5):1053-1055

Transfert contre-transfert [Transference/Countertransference]: Jean Guillaumin. Paris: Éditions L'Esprit du Temps. 1998. Pp. 266

Review by:
C. Lechartier Atlan

Psychoanalysis today has a predilection for reevaluating its major concepts. So it is that intersubjectivists, protagonists of object-relations theory and classical psychoanalysts have entered the lists on the transference and the countertransference. Jean Guillaumin's fifth book is devoted to this topic, which is so important in French psychoanalysis. The work is the culmination of an abundant output of books, papers and chapters of multi-author publications written between 1972 and 1998. The subjects discussed are dreams, trauma, psychoanalytic technique, the object, the transference and the ‘negative’. The author thus covers the entire range of major psychoanalytic issues confronting today's practitioner.

Guillaumin takes us to the very heart of our daily practice in a work whose title, ‘Transference/Countertransference’, brings together the two aspects of one and the same reality, which the author describes as follows:

two psychic apparatuses intertwined in the work of analysis, an absolutely new working dyad that cannot be reduced to a mere repetition irrevocably lived in the present, even if the characteristic feature of that repetition is that it draws us towards the timeless through regression to the unconscious … it is an intimate sharing, an asymmetric simultaneity, tantamount to the laying down of a new origin à deux that will always leave an unanalysable residue (p. 204).

Although the author stresses the inseparability of the transference and the countertransference, it is the latter that interests him most—the domain, he tells us, that Freud left relatively unexplored and bequeathed to us together with the responsibility for filling in the gaps.

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