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Cooper, A.M. (1987). The Transference Neurosis: A Concept Ready for Retirement. Psychoanal. Inq., 7(4):569-585.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 7(4):569-585

The Transference Neurosis: A Concept Ready for Retirement

Arnold M. Cooper, M.D.

The refinement of the traditional terminology of psychoanalysis is an important task for psychoanalysts today. As I have indicated elsewhere (Cooper, 1986) out uncritical use of a language that was developed in a psychoanalytic era quite different from our own is a source of confusion in our discipline. Terms that had relatively clear meanings, referring to seemingly simple concepts in the prestructural era of psychoanalysis or in the period before the recent advances in infant research, ego psychology, and object relations theory, may no longer have clear definition in our newer frames of reference. Moreover, a significant portion of our technical language has never been clearly defined and was presented by Freud to encapsulate important ideas with the overt or tacit aim that clinical experience with the concepts among psychoanalysts would lead to clarification of meanings. The concepts of the transference neurosis and its almost essential companion idea, the infantile neurosis, are examples of this usage.

The term transference neurosis has, for many psychoanalysts, become inextricable within a definition of psychoanalysis.

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