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Margolis, M. (1994). Incest, Erotic Countertransference, and Analyst-Analysand Boundary Violations. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 42:985-989.

(1994). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 42:985-989

Incest, Erotic Countertransference, and Analyst-Analysand Boundary Violations

Marvin Margolis, M.D.

THIS ISSUE OF THE Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association encompasses our growing awareness and acknowledgment of formerly tabooed, denied, or dismissed clinical phenomena: incest, erotic countertransference, and sexual boundary violations. Just 25 years ago, there were only a few papers in the analytic literature that addressed these topics. Today, we note a groundswell of interest that continues to build. In this editorial, I would like to consider some institutional responses to the educational and professional problems and opportunities we face in relation to these topics.

In recent years we have begun to concede the ubiquity of severe trauma in the background of a large percentage of analytic patients. Our literature is replete with reports of patients who have experienced incest, torture, soul murder, and severe deprivation of many types. We have found that a significant proportion of these patients is strong, resilient, and fully able to undergo analytic treatment. Analysis has made major contributions to understanding the psychological problems of these patients, and these advances, in turn, have enhanced the effectiveness of analytic treatment for all patients. In dealing with these often severely disturbed patients, many of us have observed that we are subject to particular countertransference experiences. We have come to welcome and use this new awareness to help us understand these patients, e.g., our feelings of love or hate provide clues to emerging transference constellations.

It is important to recall our former attitudes toward these clinical phenomena.

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