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Uskov, A. (2018). The Recovery of the Human Relationship: the Patient and the Analyst on the Border of the Good and the Bad Object Worlds. IJP Open, 5:40.

(2018). IJP Open, 5:40

The Recovery of the Human Relationship: the Patient and the Analyst on the Border of the Good and the Bad Object Worlds

Alexander Uskov

What is the main thing in psychoanalysis? What are the defining features of the psychoanalytic practice? How can we distinguish psychoanalysis from psychotherapy? Is it unconscious phantasy? Or transference and countertransference? Or learning of self-analysis? Or specific psychoanalytic listening and thinking? Or, may be, implicit caring, support and consolation? The author argues with two recent discussions in the IJP concerning these topics and develops his own view: the main and the unique feature of psychoanalysis is understood not as gaining knowledge (analysis and self-analysis), but as the development of normal human relationship between the patient and the analyst. The main obstacle for this development is excessive destructivity of the patient and the analyst which leads either to idealization or to spoiling and destruction of the relationship. Patient and analyst oscillate frequently between the good and the bad object worlds in both directions. They need a lot of time to understand, analyze and mitigate this destructivity. Transference and countertransference in the relationship could be easily understood and misused defensively by both parties. An extensive clinical vignette illustrates many vicissitudes and slow development of this normal good relationship that is the most difficult and long lasting part of psychoanalysis.

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