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Shevin, F.F. (1963). Countertransference and Identity Phenomena Manifested in the Analysis of a Case of "Phallus Girl" Identity. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 11:331-344.

(1963). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 11:331-344

Countertransference and Identity Phenomena Manifested in the Analysis of a Case of "Phallus Girl" Identity

Frederick F. Shevin, M.D.


The phenomena of fusion (and symbiosis) of analyst and patient and the special countertransference problem arising therefrom have been discussed. It is conceivable that the analyst may unconsciously regard the patient as his phallus, and respond to the loss of the patient as his own castration. Identification of this sort carries the danger of unconsciously aiding and abetting the patient in his narcissistic and exhibitionistic endeavors, while the analyst unconsciously and vicariously enjoys the patient's antics. The defensive counterpart of this would be the analyst playing the phallus to the patient who has so skillfully maneuvered the

analyst into the situation in which he is encouraged to interpret freely as a ventriloquist's dummy.

There are many other facets to this problem capable of producing countertransference activities. Freud (13) warned the analyst against imbuing the patient with his own ambitions. I should like to mention briefly the counterpart, in the analyst, of role taking in the patient and, as I have already mentioned, in the child. The patient's distortion and overvaluation of the analyst are often quite gratifying to the analyst's narcissism and offer a tempting invitation to participate in the unrealistic drama of the patient's historical fantasy (17p. 72). However subtle this countertransference acting out may be, it is destructive to the outcome of the therapeutic effort.

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