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Viederman, M. (1991). The Real Person of the Analyst and his Role in the Process of Psychoanalytic Cure. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 39:451-489.

(1991). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 39:451-489

The Real Person of the Analyst and his Role in the Process of Psychoanalytic Cure

Milton Viederman, M.D.


This paper focuses on the real relationship with the analyst in the psychoanalytic situation as an aspect of the therapeutic process that leads to change. The role of free association, clarification, and interpretation of the transference are taken for granted as major activities of the analyst, and the real relationship with him is seen as a complementary but important ingredient for change. In particular, his emotional availability determines the climate of analysis. The concepts of neutrality, anonymity, and abstinence, though of importance as guideposts in the conduct of an analysis, have conceptual limitations that not infrequently bind the analyst in a stance that is not useful for the progress of the analysis. On occasion, confirmation by the analyst of the verity of an experience in the patient's early life facilitates the analytic process. This occurs particularly in situations of early trauma, but at times may include chronically traumatic early life experiences. An important motivating force in analysis is the patient's unconscious wish to find the ideal parent absent in early life experience, a wish that is experienced and ultimately analyzed. This is to be distinguished from a defensive idealized transference. Psychoanalytic developmental psychology contributes to our understanding of how the real person of the analyst, his emotional availability, his responsiveness at particular times, his attitude toward action and progressive change in the patient, affect the therapeutic process that leads to change.

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