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Frayn, D.H. (1987). An Analyst's Regressive Reverie: A Response to the Analysand's Illness. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 68:271-277.

(1987). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 68:271-277

An Analyst's Regressive Reverie: A Response to the Analysand's Illness

Douglas H. Frayn


A psychoanalytic session is described where both the analyst and analysand experienced a dream-like state associated with the theme of childhood illness. The analyst's countertransference took the form of a hypnogogic reverie concerning a dying boy's plea for his help, while the analysand's transference reaction was to re-experience the analyst as the negligent

anaclitic father and himself the neglected child. The analyst's frustrated reverie and the patient's frightened angry response was a regressive expression of what previously had been unconsciously shared, but not totally congruent, fantasies.

Although this was initially a disillusioning experience in the analysis, with attempts at working through, the analysand was subsequently freer with his associations and positive feelings. There was also recovery of associated childhood illness experiences. It is suggested that these transient periods of altered consciousness provided a shared experience that was eventually analysable and therefore therapeutic.

This paper considers the interaction between latent transference and countertransference fantasies during analyses. A clinical vignette illustrating the vicissitudes of empathy is explored primarily from an intersubjective point of view.

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