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Kumin, I. (1989). The Incorrect Interpretation. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 70:141-152.

(1989). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 70:141-152

The Incorrect Interpretation

Ivri Kumin


Incorrect interpretations are unavoidable given that the nature of psychoanalytic inference is inexact, that the interactional pressures which are brought to bear may be intense, and that the analyst is human. However, the potentially harmful iatrogenic effect of incorrect interpretations upon the patient must be acknowledged and analysed.

The patient develops a transitional relationship to the analyst's interpretations which is disrupted by interpretive errors and replaced by transference reactions to a pathogenic object. The patient's response repeats, in microcosm, his past affective and defensive responses to similar environmental lapses or impingements.

Only if the analyst is aware of the patient's experience of the actuality of his error and rectifies it can the integrity of the patient's self-experience be restored, his response analysed in the transference, and reconstructions formulated about the antecedents of such reactions in the patient's past.

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