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Ganzarain, R. (1991). Extra-Analytic Contacts: Fantasy and Reality. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 72:131-140.

(1991). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 72:131-140

Extra-Analytic Contacts: Fantasy and Reality

Ramon Ganzarain


E-A.C. are avoided in our practice and literature. However, they often blur the distinction between transferential illusion and reality, more so in training analyses.

E-A.C. excite the patient's curiosity, exhibitionism and 'primal scene' fantasies with their concomitant anxieties. Such fears lead patients to phobically avoid analysing these encounters, whose effects analysts may also dread. However, calling attention to the avoidance may promote significant analytic developments.

Illusion on the psychoanalytic stage is a regressive force which brings out significant affects and internalized relationships. Affects focus the patient's attention. E-A.C. occur in a 'transitional space' where fantasy and reality become both confused and differentiated, allowing for playfulness, creativity and emotional growth.

The reality elements within psychoanalysis are reviewed: the patients' actual experience, the contract, the setting and the analyst's personality. The setting becomes the container of a mute symbiotic transference that may turn persecutory when the analytic routine is altered by an E-A.C. Hence, patients and analysts alike become anxious after an E-A.C.

E-A.C. reminds us that analysis—like life!—is a constant dynamic interplay between fantasy and reality.

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