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Fajrajzen, S. (2014). The Compulsion to Confess and the Compulsion to Judge in the Analytic Situation. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(5):977-993.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(5):977-993

The Compulsion to Confess and the Compulsion to Judge in the Analytic Situation Related Papers

Stefano Fajrajzen

(Accepted for publication 23 July 2014)

In this paper the author shows that human beings have two quasi-instinctual primitive tendencies - namely, the compulsion to confess and the compulsion to judge (to condemn or to absolve). These compulsions are originally unconscious and become conscious during the course of the analytic process.

The compulsion to judge is a natural consequence of the compulsion to confess. These two tendencies are intensified by the analytic situation. The patient has a compulsion to confess to the analyst and to himself, and likewise the analyst has a compulsion to confess to himself and to the patient. The patient therefore has a compulsion to judge himself as good or bad and to judge the analyst as good or bad while, on the other hand, the analyst has a compulsion to judge himself as good or bad and to judge the patient as good or bad.

The task of analysis is to make both patient and analyst conscious of their compulsions to confess and to judge (to condemn or to absolve). The compulsion to judge in the analyst, particularly if unconscious, may give rise to mistakes in diagnosis, technique, treatment, and the assessment of analysability.

The requirement of analytic neutrality in the analyst constantly conflicts with his compulsion to judge. If we are profoundly involved in our patient's dramatic conflict, we are bound to pass a judgement (condemnation or absolution); however, when we judge, we are not neutral and therefore become incapable of intellectual consciousness of the patient's conflict. Conversely, if we do not judge, we are neutral, but are then relatively uninvolved in the patient's conflict and are hence virtually unable to achieve emotional consciousness.

The author attempts to show that neutrality cannot and must not be a preconstituted attitude in the analyst, but can and must be a point of arrival following a profound, intensely felt existential experience based on an attitude of non-condemnation and non-absolution.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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