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Frosch, J. (1959). Transference Derivatives of the Family Romance. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 7:503-522.

(1959). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 7:503-522

Transference Derivatives of the Family Romance

John Frosch, M.D.

This paper is a selected portion of a larger projected work dealing with derivatives and vicissitudes of the family romance. The latter may be studied in a number of areas: in the social and cultural life of man, in the developmental history and daily life of the individual, in pathological manifestations, and in the therapeutic situation, with special reference to the transference. In this presentation the latter area will be explored.

We hope to demonstrate that many neurotic patients come to treatment with a "transference readiness" which contains within it the ingredients of the family romance, its prototypes, precursors, and derivatives. In such patients, derivatives from various components of the family romance contribute not only to the content but to the process and construction of transference itself. These fantasies are frequently brought into the service of defenses against instinctual strivings. They may be readily recognized by the patient when they are pointed out and offer an effective technical tool in the essential process of thorough working through. Some suggestions will also be made regarding the dynamic and genetic factors playing a role in the evolution of these phenomena.

Probably the two basic contributions to the understanding of the structure and meaning of the family romance are those by Freud (6) and Rank (11). Even though the essential features of the family romance are by now quite familiar, selected aspects will nonetheless be described.


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