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Schwalbe, R. (1994). Analytic Impasse: The Interplay of Dyadic Transferences Presenter: James T. McLaughlin, M.D.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 54(4):366-366.

(1994). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 54(4):366-366

Analytic Impasse: The Interplay of Dyadic Transferences Presenter: James T. McLaughlin, M.D.

Robert Schwalbe, C.S.W.

James T. McLaughlin examines the vicissitudes of the analyst's transference as he is challenged by his own history, regressive patterns, and ego demands, all of which can serve to disrupt the process of analysis. McLauglin, with a reverential bow to Freud, appreciates the notion that every analysis is limited by the analyst's “capabilities to participate.” He sees an impasse in the dyad as one that can “stir our own depths of transference and open ourselves to the possibility of regression when we attempt to reach the core of our patient,” noting that the real issues that the analyst and analysand bring to the work are predicated by the complexities of their collective “developmental past.”

A candid clinical vignette is presented. In demonstration of the “adaptive behaviors of the analyst which enhance mutative work,” McLaughlin describes the rich analytic treatment of a female patient with whom he discovered a deep kinship, as he recalls the memory of his own relationship with his mother. He experimented with interventions that had varying effects on himself and the patient, as he sought to find a “comfortable fit.” For example, when the patient became imperious and dismissive, or sullen and withdrawn, McLaughlin realized that he had become “lethargic, bemused and excessively silent” while waiting for more information. He focused on his needs to rescue her and to avoid his own anger, and found his patient wavering according to these oscillations.

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