Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To sort articles by year…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Year. This will rearrange the results of your search chronologically, displaying the earliest published articles first. This feature is useful to trace the development of a specific psychoanalytic concept through time.

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

Fliess, R. (1953). Countertransference and Counteridentification. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 1:268-284.

(1953). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 1:268-284

Countertransference and Counteridentification

Robert Fliess, M.D.


The treatment in the literature of psychoanalysis of countertransference and counteridentification suffers from terminologic confusion, which, necessarily, causes confusion of concepts. It is the purpose of this communication to attempt to define the two terms and to oppose to the desirable attitudes of the analyst toward his patient, countertransference and counteridentification as undesirable, on the basis of their definition.

If consistency of designation is required to identify a concept unambiguously, the term "countertransference" must, by virtue of its definition be reserved for the equivalent, in the analyst, of what is termed "transference" in the patient. It is then immediately obvious that countertransference is not, as is transference, an occurrence desirable and prerequisite to the treatment, but undesirable and a hindrance. When the patient transfers infantile conflicts upon the analyst he revives them in a situation in which they may be resolved. When the analyst (counter) transfers upon the patient he revives his own conflicts, which are neither the object of the analysis, nor can they be resolved. The patient, forced to react to a situation which instead of being intrinsic is extrinsic to his past, is, in this case, in an "accident, " not a treatment. Ideally, therefore, countertransference should not occur.

But it does. The technique to abolish it becomes evident if the aforementioned definition is kept in mind. Transference, we have been taught by Freud, must be analyzed when it has become, or is about to become, a resistance; countertransference, always resistance, must always be analyzed.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, 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.