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Jacobs, T.J. (1987). Notes on The Unknowable; Analytic Secrets and The Transference Neurosis. Psychoanal. Inq., 7(4):485-509.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 7(4):485-509

Notes on The Unknowable; Analytic Secrets and The Transference Neurosis

Theodore J. Jacobs, M.D.

Although generally regarded as the quintessential element in the analytic process and among its most distinguishing features, the phenomenon known as the transference neurosis remains an area whose full dimensions have yet to be explored.

In this paper I discuss certain covert interactions between patient and analyst that, communicated in subtle and often unconscious ways, may constitute essential, if often overlooked, aspects of the transference neurosis.

The importance of secrets in family life and in child development is well known and has been the subject of recent papers by Caruth (1985), Michaels (1985), and Rusten (1985). In a previous publication (1980) I discussed their role in the analytic situation and noted that it is not rare in analysis for secretive collusions to exist between patient and therapist. In this communication I take up another aspect of secrets and illustrate how they may enter into the formation of the transference neurosis. In doing so I discuss secrets kept not only by the patient but also by the analyst and how the interplay of the mutual need for secrecy may affect the development, uncovering, and working through of aspects of the transference neurosis.

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