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Joseph, B. (1985). Transference: The Total Situation. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 66:447-454.

(1985). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 66:447-454

Transference: The Total Situation

Betty Joseph


I have tried in this paper to discuss how I think we are tending to use the concept of transference today. I have stressed the importance of seeing transference as a living relationship in which there is constant movement and change. I have indicated how everything of importance in the patient's psychic organization based on his early and habitual ways of functioning, his fantasies, impulses, defences and conflicts, will be lived out in some way in the transference. In addition, everything that the analyst is or says is likely to be responded to according to the patient's own psychic make-up, rather than the analyst's intentions and the meaning he gives to his interpretations. I have thus tried to discuss how the way in which our patients communicate their problems to us is frequently beyond their individual

associations and beyond their words, and can often only be gauged by means of the countertransference. These are some of the points that I think we need to consider under the rubric of the total situations which are transferred from the past.

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