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Meltzer, D. (1970). Transference and Countertransference: By Heinrich Racker. London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis. 1968. Pp. 203.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 51:87-88.

(1970). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 51:87-88

Transference and Countertransference: By Heinrich Racker. London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis. 1968. Pp. 203.

Review by:
Donald Meltzer

The present volume collects and places in logical, rather than chronological, order those of Heinrich Racker's papers between 1953 and 1958 which dealt with the technical problems growing out of the relative illness of the analyst vis-à-vis the ideal, and his relative health vis-à-vis the patient. Although it is a memorial volume, edited and with a biographical note by Dr Marie Langer, it is in no sense posthumous, as all the papers contained were either published or read at meetings and appear here in their original forms. The organization is a splendidly readable one, as it proceeds from a historical consideration of the development of technique in general, through a discussion of the transference and its phenomenology, on to the most systematic elucidation of the countertransference that our literature yet affords. The heart of the book is a 47-page description of 'The Meaning and Uses of the Countertransference'. From that point a systematic examination of countertransference phenomena commences, on the analyst's masochism, mania and inhibitions of interpretation. It enables the reader to grasp the scope of the definitive and full discourse that would have ensued had Racker not died at the early age of 50.

Two historical facts may be important for the reader to grasp in order to recognize the meaning and significance of Racker's work. The first is the problem of adapting the psychoanalytic method to a culture different from that in which it had its roots, a culture more given to manic than obsessional mechanisms, more to turbulent gregariousness than isolation of individual members.

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