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Ogden, T.H. (1992). Comments on Transference and Countertransference in the Initial Analytic Meeting. Psychoanal. Inq., 12(2):225-247.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 12(2):225-247

Comments on Transference and Countertransference in the Initial Analytic Meeting

Thomas H. Ogden, M.D.

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

Psychoanalytic concepts and techniques, in order to retain their vitality, must again and again be discovered by the analyst as if for the first time. The analyst must allow himself to be freshly surprised by the ideas and phenomena that he takes most for granted. For example, he must be able to allow himself to be genuinely caught off guard by the pervasiveness of the influence of the unconscious mind, by the power of the transference, and by the intrasigence of resistance, and only retrospectively apply the familiar names to these freshly rediscovered phenomena. If the analyst allows himself perpetually to be the beginner that he is, it is sometimes possible to learn about that which he thought he already knew. The present paper is a collection of thoughts addressed to myself (and other novices) on


Dr. Ogden is a member of the faculty of the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute.

This article is an expanded version of a paper originally published in Dr. Ogden's most recent book, The Primitive Edge of Experience (1989).

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