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Wallerstein, R.S. (1968). Comment on Dr Peto's Paper. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 49:474-476.

(1968). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 49:474-476

Comment on Dr Peto's Paper

Robert S. Wallerstein

Peto in his presentation has ranged widely and perceptively over one of the central issues of psychoanalysis as a therapy, namely the place in it of affect mobilization and affect control as an essential aspect of the mutative process, as much so as interpretation and insight and working through, and incidentally, to be meaningfully integrated with all of these in any effort at a comprehensive theory of psychoanalytic therapy. Rangell (1967) has dwelt at length on various aspects of this central role of affect in psycho-analysis, actually from three vantage points: (a) phenomenologically, within the clinical therapeutic process: (b) in the theory of therapy; and (c) in general psychoanalytic theory. He reminds us there that after all being "human" commonly means the ability to feel, and being "inhuman", the reverse, i.e. to be cold and unfeeling. And that,

as with all object-relationships, a good hour has affective content, like a good speech. It is affects which bind the listener.

Empathic identification in the analytic attitude, the projecting of "interest", and the stimulating of "caring" all ride on affect.

And conversely to the extent that (an analytic hour) is not about anything about which the patient cares, it is shallow and ineffectual.

Within this immediately recognized well-established set of analytic truisms which are at the same time among the fundamental truths of analysis, Peto sets himself a circumscribed task, to describe the conditions under which significant affect is mobilized and is either then under control (the subject feeling at all times able to "snap out of it") or passes over regressively beyond the point of no return with the subject then the hapless victim of the now pervasive and uncontrolled mood.

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