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Aarons, Z.A. (1975). The Analyst's Relocation: Its Effect on the Transference—Parameter or Catalyst. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 56:303-319.

(1975). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 56:303-319

The Analyst's Relocation: Its Effect on the Transference—Parameter or Catalyst

Z. Alexander Aarons


By the very nature of their work, analysts cannot easily move away—and it is all the more difficult if it is for personal reasons. An analyst is expected by his patients to remain permanent and available even though he may no longer be of therapeutic need to them. For the analyst to move away is akin to the loss of a loved one in whom there has been a great emotional investment.

Although the transference and the dependence that accompanies it may have been more or less resolved, the object of this unique relationship is never completely given up. The analyst will always occupy a special position with his analysands. There is something about an established transference, even though adequately worked through, that enables the relationship between analyst and analysand to perdure regardless of the vicissitudes of life. Even though one's analyst may become incapacitated by illness or enfeebled by old age, the positive image of him which arises from the analytic relationship is maintained; nor will the analyst's death jeopardize or modify this image (except, perhaps, in the case of a child who has lost a mother, when the death of the analyst is likely to reinforce the desertion that originally occurred). The steadfastness derived from the analytic relationship rests upon what may be figuratively spoken of as a delusion of permanence, based ultimately upon the wish for security in the union with mother, only more or less approximated in real life, and shortlived.

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