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Greenacre, P. (1968). The Psychoanalytic Process, Transference, and Acting Out. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 49:211-218.

(1968). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 49:211-218

The Psychoanalytic Process, Transference, and Acting Out

Phyllis Greenacre

Miss Freud opened this panel discussion of acting out by stressing especially the use of the term itself. Considering it one of those technical terms which has lost meaning through the over-expansion of its application, she proposed to limit its usage along with that of other terms such as "transference" and "trauma" to phenomena within the psychoanalytic situation, in this way hoping to increase the precision of its definition. She gave a concise account of the birth, growth, and changing forms of certain analytic concepts according to what fits and is accurate for the needs of the expanding findings of clinical work itself. This forms an interesting and stimulating background for my topic, i.e. the impingement of acting out on the psychoanalytic process through the medium of the transference relationship.

In this paper, I am in fact less concerned with the definition of the term itself than I am with trying to understand the dynamics and effect of the substitution of action for verbal communication in its impact on the psychoanalytic process. I may have paid too little attention to the precision of definition because I find it difficult so completely to separate the dynamics of events within the confines of the analytic situation from their reciprocal relationship with both current and earlier events of the patient's life. This paper has become focussed especially on the nature of the psychoanalytic process. Since the concept of the psychoanalytic process emerged gradually, its literature is not very compact, being scattered through papers on theory, technique, and clinical findings.

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