Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To suggest new content…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Help us improve PEP Web. If you would like to suggest new content, click here and fill in the form with your ideas!

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Frankel, J. (2018). Thoughts on the Limits of a Mutual Technique. Am. J. Psychoanal., 78(4):350-360.
    

(2018). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 78(4):350-360

Thoughts on the Limits of a Mutual Technique

Jay Frankel, Ph.D.

Ferenczi's appreciation of the inherently mutual nature of the analytic encounter led him, and many who followed, to explore the value of mutual openness between patient and analyst. Specifically, Ferenczi saw the analyst's openness as an antidote to his earlier defensive denial of his failings and ambivalence toward the patient, which had undermined his patient's trust. My own view is that, while the analyst's openness with the patient can indeed help reestablish trust and restore a productive analytic process in the short term, it also poses long-term dangers. In certain treatments it may encourage “malignant regression”, where the patient primarily seeks gratification from the analyst, resulting in an unmanageable “unending spiral of demands or needs” (Balint, 1968, p. 146). I suggest that an analyst's “confessions”, in response to the patient's demand for accountability, can sometimes reinforce the patient's fantasy that healing comes from what the analyst gives or from turning the tables on his own sense of helplessness and shame by punishing or dominating the analyst. In such situations, the patient's fantasy may dovetail with the analyst's implicit theory that healing includes absorbing the patient's pain and even accepting his hostility, thus confirming the patient's fantasies, intensifying his malignant regression and dooming the treatment to failure. When malignant regression threatens, the analyst must set firmer boundaries, including limits on her openness, in order to help the patient shift his focus away from expectations of the analyst and toward greater self-reflection. This requires the analyst to resist the roles of rescuer, failure, or victim—roles rooted in the analyst's own unconscious fantasies.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

Copyright © 2019, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.