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De Bernardi, B.D. (2000). The Countertransference: A Latin American View. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 81(2):331-351.

(2000). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 81(2):331-351

Education Section

The Countertransference: A Latin American View

Beatriz De León De Bernardi

I shall be examining the concept of countertransference in the thought of Heinrich Racker and of Madeleine and Willy Baranger. Between the end of the 1940s and throughout the 1950s and 1960s, both Racker and the Barangers, working in Argentina and Uruguay, raised issues that continue to stimulate psychoanalytic reflection to this day. In this sense, these authors may be regarded as ahead of their time.

Even if my choice of subject results partly from the influence of my own training in the Uruguayan Psychoanalytic Association, which is geographically and culturally very close to Argentine psychoanalysis, I believe that these authors have been an essential, albeit in some cases controversial, reference point in the vicissitudes of the countertransference as a concept in Latin American psychoanalysis.

They drew attention to the importance of the analyst's contribution to the analytic process, concentrating on the study and theorisation of the phenomena of unconscious communication between patient and analyst. The countertransference was both the starting-point and the central theme of Racker's work. He saw investigation of the countertransference phenomenon as one of the main factors of change in analytic treatment, as well as a pathway for advances in psychoanalytic theorisation. In the thought of M. and W. Baranger, the theme of the countertransference formed part of a wider conception of the analytic situation, which they saw as a dynamic field.

In following the development of these authors' thought, a process that is still ongoing in the case of the Barangers, we observe how the treatment of the countertransference has varied according to the effect of different theoretical influences.

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