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Veszy-Wagner, L. (1961). The Analytic Screen: An Instrument or an Impediment in the Psycho-Analytic Technique. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 42:32-42.

(1961). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 42:32-42

The Analytic Screen: An Instrument or an Impediment in the Psycho-Analytic Technique

L. Veszy-Wagner


After a survey of screen phenomena, their specific characteristics are described—their porosity, distorting power, highly organized texture, indirect action, and unilateral occlusion. Attention is then drawn to a parallel screen phenomenon which, in contradistinction to other screen phenomena, appears in the analyst himself, though brought forth by the analytic situation. This 'analytic screen', albeit stemming from the same sources as counter-transference, is not identical therewith, for the latter is essentially the psychic transference; neither is it identical with this last, which is essentially the psychic outcome of a mutual and dual relationship in specific circumstances. After the description of the differences the author enlarges upon the object's possible appearances in the analytic screen, which is then characterized as a Gestalt consisting of the analyst as the observer, of the patient and his objects as the observed, with emphasis on observation itself. The evenly hovering attitude of attentiveness cannot include the observation of the observer save by a split, but even so his observation has to pass through the analytic screen. There is a model situation in the early history of the analyst which seems analogous to the constellation of the analytic screen: his primal scene phantasy. All elements of a later sublimated primal scene are to be found in the analytic screen, and nowhere else could curiosity and restitution blend into one harmonious mental attitude as they can in the psycho-analytical observer. After discussion of the usefulness of the analytic screen and the possible dangers of its non-observance some examples are given to illustrate the difference between the effects of counter-transference analysis and the analysis of the analytic screen. The session (of the neurotic patient) in either structure or contents is shown as an unconscious primal scene drama enacted by the patient. In conclusion, the genesis of the 'evenly hovering' attitude of the analyst is briefly sketched.

Note.—Since the author has not the experiences of a training analyst, the examples mentioned derive exclusively from private information. The recent vast literature on counter-transference has not been touched upon in this paper, which covers a small but specific sector only relating to that subject, and in that respect the bibliography of this essay is not comprehensive. For a historical survey of the latter she would refer to Douglas W. Orr's 'Transference and Counter-Transference' (17) and for valuable case material on the psychological background of the sublimation in the analytical profession to Annie O. Reich's 'On Counter-transference' (20).

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