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Friedman, L. (1992). How and Why Do Patients Become More Objective? Sterba Compared with Strachey. Psychoanal Q., 61:1-17.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:1-17

How and Why Do Patients Become More Objective? Sterba Compared with Strachey

Lawrence Friedman, M.D.

ABSTRACT

What Richard Sterba described in his influential paper was not, as some have thought, a lasting alliance between patient and analyst but a momentary dissociative state, accompanying the analysis of transference resistance, in which the patient detaches himself from his strivings and views himself objectively before lapsing back into normal coherence. We also find in the paper a hinted answer to the vexing question of what motivates patients to engage in characteristically psychoanalytic self-scrutiny. Sterba implicitly proposes a problem-solving incentive activated by transference. A comparison with Strachey leads us to ask whether patients progress only by disinhibition of particular strivings through particular resolutions of particular fears, or whether patients also experience a more general liberation that fosters their own, deliberate search for integration.

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