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Basch, M.F. (1991). Pre-Published Papers for the 37th International Psychoanalytical Congress. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 72:3-5.

(1991). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 72:3-5

Pre-Published Papers for the 37th International Psychoanalytical Congress

Michael Franz Basch


Ms W, 29 years old and single, entered psychoanalysis for help with a problem of compulsive promiscuity. With the exception of this serious symptom, her life was successful. She was doing well in her chosen occupation, had many good friends, and led, in other respects, a fulfilling life. Further evaluation led me to conclude that her symptoms were evidence of a psychoneurotic character disorder, hysterical type.

Ms W radiated charm. Though dressed with subdued elegance, she managed at the same time to project an image that was alluring and provocative. Several other of my women patients who encountered her going to and from her appointments with me were alternately angry with and envious of her, and the colleagues with whom I shared a waiting room uncharacteristically found themselves commenting to me on this patient. It was this sort of an influence that she exercised wherever she went. The targets of her attention were usually older, successful men, in leadership positions, and they readily succumbed to her. Predictably, she unleashed the full force of her seductive personality in the analysis. I, however, had no difficulty in maintaining a thoughtful neutrality and a non-intervening, freely-hovering attention that promoted the development of a classic oedipal transference. In due time, the interpretation of that transference and its resolution through genetic reconstruction freed Ms W from her neurosis. A result that attested once again to the fact that the psychoanalytic method, an approach summed up by the terms neutrality, abstinence, and empathy (Basch, 1983), is as valid today as it was when Freud first described it (Freud, 1912a), (1912b), (1913), (1914), (1915).

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