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Paniagua, C. (2004). On: Countertransference and transference in ‘Two sessions with Catherine’. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(2):524-526.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(2):524-526

On: Countertransference and transference in ‘Two sessions with Catherine’ Related Papers

Cecilio Paniagua

Dear Sirs,

Congratulations again for the section ‘The Analyst at Work’, which permits contrasting techniques like no other publication, thus promoting effective communication in our psychoanalytic Babel. Having said this, I would like to make a few comments on the use of countertransference and the centrality of transference in Vermote's clinical presentation, and Goldberg and Roussillon's responses (Vermote et al., 2003).

As Goldberg remarked, and Vermote acknowledged, the latter's associations to the material often had no discernible connection to the patient's (Catherine) verbalisations, i.e. they were quite clearly countertransferential (‘my dead father’, ‘a Japanese friend's story’, ‘programme on Gorbachov’, ‘a parcel delivered by a plane’, ‘the wife of an acquaintance’ etc.). At one point in which the analyst's thoughts wandered, getting ‘an image of someone who fires a shot from a wheelchair’, Vermote wondered, ‘is this picture of aggression and immobility in any way connected to… what's going on in [Catherine's] mind?’ (p. 1422). Good questions such as this are frequently predicated on the belief that there must be some sort of homology between the analyst's fantasies and the patient's, transmitted via the supposedly omnipresent mechanism of projective identification. Obviously, the analyst shared some of his fantasies and posed such a question, instead of going over the textual material, because he thought that his associations were pertinent to the analysand's psychic world.

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