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Sigman, M. (1990). Comments and Criticisms. Contemp. Psychoanal., 26:370-373.

(1990). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 26:370-373

Comments and Criticisms

Maxine Sigman, Ph.D.

To the Editor:

Peter Lawner, in a recent (This Journal25, October, 1989) article entitled "Counteridentification, Therapeutic Impasse, and Supervisory Process, " defines counteridentification as an unconscious process whereby the therapist colludes with the patient by being defensive in a way that resembles the patient's defensive manner. He suggests that in contrast with countertransference, counteridentification has received little attention recently and proposes the utility of exploring counteridentification both in individual and group supervision settings. I have examined the process from the perspective of a supervisee (Sigman, 1985). I used Grinberg's (1962) term "projective counter-identification" to describe the process in therapy when the therapist, without consciously perceiving it, really experiences himself according to the patient's projections. I noted that perhaps these experiences were some of the session segments involved in the parallel process in supervision. Clearly there is a selection process involved in the recording of data from a therapy session. The therapist has the opportunity in the recording process to unconsciously, but concretely, extrude onto the notepaper unwanted, difficult or disturbing aspects of the session. This may more readily occur if one records immediately after the patient leaves the office, before the session is more consciously reprocessed. That which is recorded determines to a great extent the content of the supervision session. It is likely that the therapist at this point of recording removes from him/herself onto the paper at least some of the disturbing, threatening experiences placed in him/her by the patient moments earlier.

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