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Feldman, M. (2007). Racker's Contribution to the Understanding of Countertransference Revisited. Psychoanal Q., 76(3):779-793.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 76(3):779-793

Racker's Contribution to the Understanding of Countertransference Revisited

Michael Feldman

What greatly impressed me on rereading Racker's work on countertransference was not only the presence of a highly intelligent, gifted, and creative psychoanalyst, but also the sense of sharing an exciting period in the evolution of psychoanalytic thinking. In the paper that he first presented in 1953, “The Meanings and Uses of Countertransference(Racker 1957), he seems to be at an important crossroads. Freud's metapsychology is much in evidence, together with the more recent pioneering discoveries of Abraham and Klein. Racker is very aware of the work of Winnicott, Heimann, Reich, and others. But what I find most interesting is the way he seems to be looking forward, developing ways of understanding countertransference that derive not only from the structural model of the mind, but also include newer ideas concerning internal object relations. He is beginning to explore a model of patient-analyst interaction that takes account of the dynamic interplay between identification, projection, and introjection.

I propose to examine some aspects of this paper, to try to understand the ways in which these different models interact in Racker's thinking, and to consider some of the ways I believe we have extended and developed our understanding of countertransference, particularly in and around the theory of projective identification.

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