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Whyte, N. (2004). Introduction. Psychoanal. Psychother., 18(1):5-14.

(2004). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 18(1):5-14


Nollaig Whyte

The first paper on the subject of an analyst's pregnancy appeared more than 50 years ago, and was followed by a complete silence on the subject for the following 17 years. Slowly, a few substantial papers began to emerge, and there has been a gradual expansion in this area of the psycho-analytic literature particularly over the past 25 years, so that by now we have at least 60 papers on the subject, several chapters in books, and at least one complete book that I am aware of. There is of course a substantial separate literature on the subject of pregnancy itself, which is of direct relevance to an understanding of the subject of the analyst's pregnancy. In addition, the literature on special events in the course of therapy is pertinent to the subject too. I have limited my own review of the literature specifically to that related to the analyst's pregnancy but I have included all the references I could trace in the bibliography at the end of this issue.

I have grouped the papers to some extent around key areas of interest as they emerge from the whole literature. In particular, I have noted that the earliest papers began to outline some generic responses to the analyst's pregnancy, ranging in intensity from supposedly minor turbulence in men to intense transference storms in women. The early papers seem to have regarded pregnancy solely as an interference in the treatment process. Later papers began to place more emphasis on the analyst's countertransference response and to acknowledge that the therapist herself is confronted at this time with issues involving her own identity, integration of new roles, maternal identification and redefinition of important relationships in her own life.

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