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Coen, S.J. (1994). Barriers to Love Between Patient and Analyst. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 42:1107-1135.

(1994). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 42:1107-1135

Barriers to Love Between Patient and Analyst

Stanley J. Coen, M.D.


Analysts tend to avoid the full range and force of love and hate in themselves and in their analysands. Such affective constriction in the analyst interferes with full analysis of patients' defenses against passionate feelings, loving and hating. I contend that our analytic ego ideal tends to encourage constriction and discomfort with our loving feelings for analysands. My intention is not to advise analysts to love their patients, but to focus carefully on mutually constructed barriers that serve to prevent loving feelings in the analytic setting. I describe some of my loving feelings toward two analysands and some of the obstacles with which I had to struggle in order to preserve such feelings for the sake of these patients' analytic growth and change.

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