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Valenstein, A.F. (1974). Panel on 'Transference'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 55:311-321.

(1974). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 55:311-321

Panel on 'Transference'

Arthur F. Valenstein

Jacob Arlow opened the discussion with an introductory statement in which he called attention to be centrality of the phenomenon in psychoanalysis. As he put it, 'It is generally recognized that the attitude toward transference distinguishes psychoanalysis from all other forms of psychotherapy. The psychoanalyst takes special notice of transference phenomena; he interprets the transference and tries to resolve it as a prerequisite to the successful termination of therapy. The psychoanalytic setting by its very nature intensifies the manifestations of transference in an unparalleled way.'

Reviewing some of the historical trends which have lent diffusion and confusion to the concept, Arlow quoted from Anna Freud (1968) who had cited transference 'as an example of certain psychoanalytic concepts which started out "as precise, well-defined descriptions of specific psychic events" and were then subjected to "indiscriminate application until they ceased to be meaningful … Transference (and counter-transference) originally meant the distortion of a realistic patient–analyst relationship by additions from past unconscious and repressed object-relations; this notion was widened until it comprised whatever happens between the two partners in the analytic setting, regardless of its precipitating cause, derivation and meaning".'

Arlow then suggested that 'with a few crucial changes (transference) may be transformed into a definition of the neurotic process—that is, the neurotic process may be viewed as a distortion of realistic object relations, integration, and adaptation by additions or intrusions from past unconscious and repressed object relations.

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