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Furer, M. (2000). Discussion of Dr. Dunn's Case. J. Clin. Psychoanal., 9(4):491-494.

(2000). Journal of Clinical Psychoanalysis, 9(4):491-494

Discussion of Dr. Dunn's Case

Manuel Furer, M.D.

Once again I will address myself to the technical issues, particularly the analyst's response to the patient, and only cursorily to the data of the case relevant to this issue.

Dr. Dunn's example of the first enactment in this analysis, telling the patient that she could begin on the couch, joins the issue very clearly. One might say following Boesky and Renik that Dr. Dunn could not know the meaning of his action, its meaning to the patient, and its impact until after it had happened. The second point that may be made is that their emotional involvement, the meaning of which neither party is aware, is an important carrier of the therapeutic effect. As Boesky put it, without such unintended interactions the analysis will not proceed to a successful conclusion. According to Renik, the distinction between analyst and patient cannot be made on the basis of either party's actual involvement, that is, the extent to which either one expresses or experiences emotional responses.

My counterargument is that human interaction and emotional involvement are givens if not warded off by the analyst. What is more important is that all such interaction, including communications, have unconscious purposes and meanings; second, that there is a difference, a distinction between analyst and patient not only by the reality of one seeking help from the other, but also crucial to me, the nature of their transference, presumably at the very least better known by the analyst and likely to be more intense in the patient. The latter, I believe, is what the material demonstrated, a preformed transference that immediately became evident. This, of course, can be made dramatic involuntarily by the analyst motivated to varying degrees by countertransference. When such interaction is valorized, it is my belief that what informs our technique, the transference as repetition of childhood conflicts, is potentially devalued.

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