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Leider, R.J. (1983). Analytic Neutrality — A Historical Review. Psychoanal. Inq., 3(4):665-674.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 3(4):665-674

Analytic Neutrality — A Historical Review

Robert J. Leider, M.D.

My aim is to review the development of the concept of analytic neutrality in the belief that a historical perspective will contribute to our understanding of the basic issues and of the differing positions elaborated by various writers on the subject.

Neutrality, central to the psychoanalytic situation, is an important aspect of the “psychoanalytic ambience” described by Wolf (1976) and is essential for the proper evolution of an analytic process. It is both an attitude and the technical stance most frequently recommended for the analyst, and is by many considered essential in defining analytic treatment. Gill (1954p. 775), for example, defined psychoanalysis as follows: “Psychoanalysis is that technique which, employed by a neutral analyst, results in the development of a regressive transference neurosis and the ultimate resolution of the neurosis by techniques of interpretation alone.” (For numerous reasons elaborated in a paper forthcoming in the International Review of Psycho-Analysis, Gill would no longer fully accept this definition.)

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