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Newman, K.M. Kligerman, C. Terman, D.M. (1988). Countertransference: Its Role in Facilitating the Use of the Object. Ann. Psychoanal., 16:251-276.

(1988). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 16:251-276

Countertransference: Its Role in Facilitating the Use of the Object

Kenneth M. Newman, M.D., Charles Kligerman, M.D. and David M. Terman, M.D.

I. Introduction

The tragedy of character is that it so often works to interfere with what the subject needs most—a usable object. This is most poignant with people who have suffered significant early traumata and therefore have reorganized their psychic structures with highly protective mechanisms. Frequently, the pathological character repetitively works to achieve the conviction of the unusability of the current object through evoking complementary responses from the companion object to the restitutive structure. Even when the response produced is a positive one, sought out by the patient, the way this transaction was evolved as well as the history and motives for eliciting this response will render the object and the experience invalid, i. e., not truly usable. Whether intentionally induced or not, whenever the external object enacts the complementary role to the patient's character, once more the patient gains conviction that distance must be maintained. Thus, the new object in the patient's mind becomes identified with and contaminated by the original object, and is thereby disqualified for use as a new object. When the patient's character presentation is more obviously imbricated with frustrated expressions of rage, acute sensitivity to slights, and massive defensive reactions, the analyst will experience, typically, negative attitudes, painful affects, and demeaned self states.

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