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Schwartz, H.P. (2013). Neutrality in the Field: Alpha-Function and the Dreaming Dyad in Psychoanalytic Process. Psychoanal Q., 82(3):587-613.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 82(3):587-613

Neutrality in the Field: Alpha-Function and the Dreaming Dyad in Psychoanalytic Process

Henry P. Schwartz

Analysts have interpreted the concept of neutrality in a variety of ways, beginning with Strachey's use of that word to translate Freud's (1915) term, Indifferenz. In this paper, neutrality is linked to Freud's notions of free association and evenly suspended attention. A history of psychoanalytic attempts to clarify the concept are presented, with special attention to issues of ambiguity and the patient's role in the determination of neutrality. Neutrality is further elaborated in relation to the bipersonal field as described by the Barangers and contemporary field theorists. Understood in terms of the field, neutrality becomes a transpersonal concept, here conceived in terms of alpha-function and a dreaming dyad. Two clinical examples cast in the light of a Bionian perspective are discussed to suggest an alternative understanding of analytic impasses and their relation to alpha-function and neutrality.

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