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Alexander, F. (1954). Some Quantitative Aspects of Psychoanalytic Technique. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 2:685-701.

(1954). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 2:685-701

Some Quantitative Aspects of Psychoanalytic Technique

Franz Alexander, M.D.

Concerning the essential nature of the treatment there seems to be little disagreement among psychoanalysts today. We all agree that the essence of psychoanalytic therapy consists in exposing the ego to the emotional conflicts which it could not resolve in the past. This revival of the pathogenic emotional experience takes place in the patient's emotional reactions to the analyst, and is called the transference neurosis. It consists in an emotional involvement of the patient with the therapist to whom he attributes the role of important persons in his past life. This involvement is predetermined by the patient's earlier experiences and cannot be explained as reactions to the treatment situation itself. The original neurotic conflict which once consisted in a disturbed relationship of the child to his family environment now appears in a disturbed relationship of the patient to the analyst. The apparent irrationality of this emotional involvement stems from the fact that the responses had sense only in the past situation, and now they are repeated in the therapeutic situation without the analyst's provocation. This revival of the original conflict in the transference situation gives the ego a new opportunity to grapple with the unresolved conflicts of the past. Of course, the totality of the past situations cannot be revived in the transference. Experience shows, however, that the central pathogenic interpersonal conflict situations are always repeated in the transference if the analyst by his own reaction does not disturb this process. According to this view, the fundamental therapeutic factor lies in the transference experience and its understanding in the light of the past.

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