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Wolitzky, D.L. (2003). Transference: Shibboleth or Albatross? By Joseph Schachter. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 2002, 267 pp., $45.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 51(2):711-718.

(2003). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 51(2):711-718

Book Reviews: Transference, Countertransference, and Value

Transference: Shibboleth or Albatross? By Joseph Schachter. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 2002, 267 pp., $45.00. Related Papers

Review by:
David L. Wolitzky

Over the course of his fifty-year career, Joseph Schachter has gradually abandoned the traditional Freudian conception of transference and its technical implications. He rejects the idea that what makes psychoanalysis distinctive is genetic transference interpretation in the context of analytic neutrality (Kernberg 1999) and asserts that a necessary and sufficient criterion of a psychoanalytic approach is that it recognizes the “power of unconscious forces” (p. 174). As implied in the subtitle of his book, the Freudian view of transference, the shibboleth of psychoanalysis, has in fact become an albatross. Yet it is hard to relinquish, according to Schachter, because it would threaten the identity of Freudian analysts, who already suffer from a great deal of uncertainty and from limited therapeutic effectiveness. The claim of limited benefit, however, is based on a selective citation of the literature (see, e.g., Sandell 2001, 2002).

In place of the traditional view, Schachter has come to embrace Gill's emphasis on the “here-and-now” transference. Schachter also endorses the trends that he regards as compatible with his emphasis on the “here-and-now” transference: a two-person psychology; herme-neutics; a more spontaneous responsiveness to the patient, with its allegedly less rule-bound approach to technique; an appreciation of psychoanalysis as an art; and an openness to the idea of posttermi-nation relationships.


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