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Blatman, H.M. (2015). Three Analysts on Freud's “Observations on Transference-Love”. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 63(5):977-990.

(2015). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 63(5):977-990

Panel Report

Three Analysts on Freud's “Observations on Transference-Love”

Holly M. Blatman

On this panel, four analysts reflected on the meaning of Freud's 1915 paper “Observations on Transference-Love.” In the words of Ellen Pinsky, one of the panelists, who designed the program for the paper's centennial, “in these twelve pages Freud gives us the very odd creature we call psychoanalysis.”

Chaired by Peter Goldberg, the panel included presentations by analysts at different levels of experience: Sidney Phillips (a senior analyst), Ellen Pinsky (in mid-career), and Alison Phillips (a recent graduate). Each presented a paper reflecting thoughts about Freud's text and its relevance to their work as analysts. The purpose: to think together about technical principles such as abstinence and neutrality, to examine the transference and countertransference forces that underlie both the healing power of the treatment and catastrophic enactments involving boundary violations, and to reevaluate the relevance of Freud's clinical thinking for contemporary psychoanalysis.

Goldberg opened the proceedings by describing Freud's paper as a “brief, remarkable text” in clinical theory, rather than a manual with precise recommendations for technique. “It is,” he said, “above all about the power of the analytic setting to reproduce a scene of seduction and set in motion unconscious processes.” He considers it a foundational work on the function of the clinical frame and the importance of maintaining it.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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