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Burnat, G. De Urtubey, L. (2004). Beyond the limits: Historical perspectives on boundary violations in psychoanalytic treatment. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(5):1243-1245.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(5):1243-1245

Beyond the limits: Historical perspectives on boundary violations in psychoanalytic treatment

Reported by:
Gilles Burnat

Moderator Louise De Urtubey

Ron Britton based his communication on erotic countertransference. He presented himself as one of the psychoanalytic ‘children of the 1970s’, who learned a lot about using countertransference as a source of understanding, which became then a familiar tool.

A better theoretical account of countertransference can be given thanks to such concepts as internal objects and projective identification. However, history and new development of psychoanalysis have not reduced the provocative power of transference to induce countertransference enactment in the unwary or susceptible. Britton bases his view on the susceptibility rather than the use of it. He is sure that the erotic countertransference is responsive and complementary to transference and that the analyst is not always aware that this is the case. He adds that erotic countertransference sometimes antedates the appearance of the erotic transference. This occurs as a transient phenomenon often enough in analysis. Sometimes erotic countertransference is more embedded in the analysis and draws everything into itself. Britton calls it an erotic transference neurosis, which may have a counterpart in the erotic countertransference neurosis. He chooses to describe, following his own experience, erotic countertransference when it occurs where the analyst is male and the patient female.

Relating a brief clinical story of the development of an erotic countertransference, in relation to the erotic transference of a woman patient, Britton arrives at the conclusion that countertransference neurosis feeds on the transference and vice versa.

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