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London, N.J. (1987). Prologue. Psychoanal. Inq., 7(4):457-463.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 7(4):457-463

Prologue

Nathaniel J. London, M.D.

Creation and resolution of a transference neurosis have long been considered to distinguish psychoanalysis from all other types of psychotherapy (Blum, 1971). The definition of the concept, however, remains subject to varied interpretations. Such a state of affairs should hardly be surprising. Freud scarcely mentioned transference neurosis after 1920. The subsequent literature on the concept, which is sparse, considering the importance of the topic, has not provided an updated consensus on its definition. In the meantime, the clinical theory of psychoanalysis has undergone much development and change. We consider it timely to review the subject, and have invited each of our contributors to consider transference neurosis in his or her own way.

The training of every analyst is steeped in Freud's definition (1917), which I quote in part. After referring to the patient's illness as growing and developing like a living organism, Freud continued:

… his illness's new production is concentrated upon a single point — his relation to the doctor…. we are no longer concerned with the patient's earlier illness but with a newly created and transformed neurosis which has taken the former's place. We have followed this new addition of the old disorder from its start, we have observed its origin and growth, and we are especially well able to find our way about in it since, as its object, we are situated at its very centre.

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