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Zachrisson, A. (2009). Countertransference and Changes in the Conception of the Psychoanalytic Relationship. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 18(3):177-188.

(2009). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 18(3):177-188

Countertransference and Changes in the Conception of the Psychoanalytic Relationship

Anders Zachrisson, Fil, Lic

The concept of countertransference has a long history in psychoanalysis. This paper sketches the phenomenon referred to by countertransference and the development of the concept, from being signs of disturbance in the analyst to an important road to knowledge about the patient's inner life. The complexity of the questions discussed today -how to understand the concepts of neutrality, abstinence, and empathy; the relative subjective mutuality and symmetry of the analytic situation; the analyst's enactments and self-disclosure of feelings — reflects the complexity of the contemporary view of the patient-analyst relationship. In conclusion, the author presents a model illustrating the disturbing and informative aspects of counter-transference together with the conceptual relationship between countertransference on the one hand and empathy and projective identification on the other. Finally, by differentiating between intuitive and irrational levels of functioning, an integrated model for countertransference is presented, synthesising the essence of the concept as it is used today.

(Received 7 October 2008; accepted 13 December 2008)

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