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Sterba, R. (1944). The Formative Activity of the Analyst. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 25:146-150.

(1944). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 25:146-150

The Formative Activity of the Analyst

Richard Sterba

It is neither by mere chance nor as a result of one-sided interest that so many of our papers on psycho-analytic therapy concern themselves with interpretation. Interpretation is and will always remain our paramount technical method in therapeutic procedure, as long as we do not work (Freud, 1904) 'per via di porre', that is, by strengthening the repressive forces, but 'per via di levare', by undoing repression and thus making the unconscious accessible to the ego so that it can integrate parts of the id and use its newly acquired energy for its manifold purposes. Our ultimate dynamic aim in interpretation is the strengthening of the ego through the addition of instinctual energy which has hitherto belonged to the unconscious. There can be no doubt that interpretation is our main pump in the therapeutic 'draining of the Zuyder Zee' (Freud, 1933; 106).

The fact that the direct interpretation of recognized unconscious material is not usually the means of achieving our therapeutic purpose was a fairly early discovery. Very often the patient is unable to accept the interpretation or even to understand it. Pre-interpretative measures must be taken so that he will be able to understand and accept our interpretations. Such measures consist mainly in the analysis of the ego-resistances or -defences against the expression of unconscious material.

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