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Parsons, M. (2006). The Analyst's Countertransference to the Psychoanalytic Process. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 87(5):1183-1198.

(2006). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 87(5):1183-1198

Theoretical and Clinical Papers

The Analyst's Countertransference to the Psychoanalytic Process

Michael Parsons

There is countertransference, not just to individual patients, but to the process of psychoanalysis itself. The analytic process is a contentious topic. Disagreements about its nature can arise from taking it as a unitary concept that should have a single definition whereas, in fact, there are several strands to its meaning. The need for the analyst's free associative listening, as a counterpart to the patient's free associations, implies resistance to the analytic process in the analyst as well as the patient. The author gives examples of the self-analysis that this necessitates. The most important happenings in both the analyst's and the patient's internal worlds lie at the boundary between conscious and unconscious, and the nature of an analyst's interventions depends on how fully what happens at that boundary is articulated in the analyst's consciousness. The therapeutic quality of an analyst's engagement with a patient depends on the freeing and enlivening quality, for the analyst, of the analyst's engagement with his or her countertransference to the analytic process.

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