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Musiał, M. (2019). The analytic ideal and its countertransferential vicissitudes. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 100(4):640-655.

(2019). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 100(4):640-655

Psychoanalytic Theory & Technique

The analytic ideal and its countertransferential vicissitudes

Maciej Musiał

The analytic ideals internalized during training become the analyst's internal object and fulfil the function of aspiration. With regard to Freud's words about the psychoanalysis as an ‘impossible profession’, doomed to failures, I consider the countertransferential vicissitudes of the analytic ideal. I argue that the analytic ideal needs to be recognized by the analyst as the ego ideal. I accept, following Hanly, that the ego ideal is about the state of becoming. If the ideal is experienced by the analyst, as Britton puts it, as the unrealized, sought-after and mourned narcissistic potential of the self, then such an ideal remains an object of aspiration and supports analysts in work. Under the influence of the patient's projection, the relationship between the ego and the ideal changes, as well as the superego and the ideal ego. When these changes are narrowed to symbolic equations between them, the analytic ideal is no longer aspiration and the countertransference is enacted. The clinical vignette illustrates countertransference en-actments and working through both the countertransference and its enactments. I discuss three scenarios of the countertransference and its enactments. I argue that the analyst’s development requires him to distinguish himself from the analytic ideal. This requires recognising the loss of the object and one’s own ‘ideal and omnipotent potential’.

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