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Kernberg, O.F. (1993). Convergences and Divergences in Contemporary Psychoanalytic Technique. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 74:659-673.

(1993). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 74:659-673

Convergences and Divergences in Contemporary Psychoanalytic Technique

Otto F. Kernberg


A broad survey of the psychoanalytic field reveals both convergences and divergences in technique. The major convergences include earlier interpretation of the transference, increased focus on transference analysis, as well as growing attention to countertransference analysis and increasing concern with the risks of 'indoctrinating' patients. Greater emphasis is found on character defences and the unconscious meanings of the 'here-and-now'. Also noted are trends toward translating unconscious conflicts into object-relations terminology, as well as toward considering a multiplicity of royal roads to the unconscious.

Regarding divergences, significant controversies continue about the importance of the 'real' relationship, and the therapeutic versus the resistance aspect of regression. Divergences also continue regarding reconstruction and recovery of preverbal experience, drawing the lines between psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, the role of empathy, and the relation of historical to narrative truth.

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