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Diercks, M. (2018). Freud's ‘transference’: Clinical technique in the ‘Rat Man’ case and theoretical conceptualization compared. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 99(1):58-81.

(2018). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 99(1):58-81

Freud's ‘transference’: Clinical technique in the ‘Rat Man’ case and theoretical conceptualization compared

Michael Diercks

A considerable gap exists between clinical psychoanalytic concepts and psychoanalytic practice. It can be traced back to the early beginnings of psychoanalysis and to Freud's own handling of concepts that he had developed himself. Focusing on the concept of ‘transference’ that Freud in several steps coined so precisely from his experiences with hysteric patients and especially from his understanding of the ‘Dora’ case, it can be shown that he – seen from today – could not fully apply the meaning of his own concept in the later treatment of the so‐called ‘Rat Man’. Freud's ‘Original record of the case’ is used to scrutinize his way of understanding and handling the transference with this patient. To a substantial extent transference as well as counter‐transference was rather enacted than understood in this case, partly due to Freud's own personal and scientific interests and to his ambitions to use this case as a demonstration of his therapeutic approach. In order to show this, it is unavoidable to correct several blurry or even misleading passages of Strachey's translation. Findings from numerous workshops using ‘comparative clinical methods’ indicate that up till now we analysts – like Freud – have great difficulties in applying Freud's incredible insight that “a whole series of former psychic experiences comes alive not as the past but as the present relationship to the person of the physician” (Freud, 1905c [1901], p. 279/280, my translation).

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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