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Diem-Wille, G. (2004). Using the Concept of the ‘Total Situation’ in the Analysis of a Borderline Adolescent. J. Child Psychother., 30(3):308-329.

(2004). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 30(3):308-329

Using the Concept of the ‘Total Situation’ in the Analysis of a Borderline Adolescent

Gertraud Diem-Wille

The author discusses two concepts of transference: the broader use of transference as the ‘total situation ‘, as it was called by Melanie Klein and further elaborated by post-Kleinians, and the narrow use of transference in the traditional sense. Using clinical material from the four-times-a-week analysis of a severely disturbed adolescent over a period of 4 years, the author tries to show how the understanding of the transference as the total situation enabled her to work with this boy who hardly spoke or played. The observation of his non-verbal communication and the counter-transference feelings of the analyst made it possible to formulate hypotheses about the quality of his relationship with the analyst and the inner world of the patient. After the presentation of the clinical material the author points out some misunderstandings of the concept of the total situation in European psychoanalytic discussion.

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