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Peto, A. (1960). On the Transient Disintegrative Effect of Interpretations. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 41:413-417.

(1960). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 41:413-417

On the Transient Disintegrative Effect of Interpretations

Andrew Peto

This paper is an attempt to contribute to a particular aspect of the phenomenon we call the 'analytic process'.

We have the opportunity to observe in our daily practice that the consistent application of interpretations may cause considerable and lasting changes in mental dynamics. We are also fully aware of the precarious balance which may arise in the course of treatment. The rule of abstinence lays particular emphasis on speech, on words as the sole desirable tool of treatment with adult neurotics and the main vehicle of communication with children and psychotics in treatment. Loewenstein (9), discussing the role of speech in psycho-analysis, states that 'there is no more powerful magic than that of words. This is perhaps the one realm where so-called magic is really operative.' This view leads us to several essential features of the transference neurosis in which the present is experienced in terms of the past. The revival of the past means the return of archaic thinking and relationships.

M. Balint (1) has shown in a series of theoretical and technical papers that the archaic mother-infant relationship operates and manifests itself at several crucial phases of the analytic process. Heimann (7) expresses similar views: 'The functional unit of analyst and patient reproduces the functional units which the patient experienced in the past, first with his mother's body, and later with both parents.' Greenacre (5) points out that 'the non-participation of the analyst in a personal way in the relationship creates a "tilted" emotional relationship, a kind of psychic suction.

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