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Gubb, K. (2014). Craving Interpretation: A Case of Somatic Countertransference. Brit. J. Psychother., 30(1):51-67.

(2014). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 30(1):51-67

Bodily Countertransference

Craving Interpretation: A Case of Somatic Countertransference

Karen Gubb

Contemporary psychoanalysis views the countertransference as equally important to the therapeutic endeavour as its counterpart, the transference. This paper focuses on a particular kind of countertransference phenomena: those which are bodily in form and perceivable to the patient. It begins with a brief rehearsal of some of the fundamental psychoanalytic principles related to bodily symptoms, and then reviews the developments and changes that have occurred in the understanding of the concept of countertransference. The focus then shifts to theoretical developments around somatic countertransference in particular, and the division seen in the literature between authors who locate the source of the phenomenon of somatic countertransference in the patient's unconscious, and those who locate it in the therapist. The paper will argue that exploring the uniqueness and specificity of the therapeutic dyad will reveal important information about the dynamics at work in the therapy. A clinical example illustrates the specificity of the form that a somatic countertransference takes in a particular therapy. It then proposes that in order to make sense of the rich information that this unique response provides, the therapist must mentalize and make meaning of her particular somatic experience by way of a therapeutic analysis of reverie.

[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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