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Frank, G. (1987). Weinstein Revisited: Should Analysts Love Their Patients?. Mod. Psychoanal., 12(1):89-95.

(1987). Modern Psychoanalysis, 12(1):89-95

Weinstein Revisited: Should Analysts Love Their Patients?

George Frank, Ph.D.

In a recent article, Weinstein (1986) asked the question: “Should analysts love their patients?” Weinstein wrote that

In 1926, on the occasion of Freud's seventieth birthday, Ferenczi wrote that psychoanalysis works through deepening and enlargement of our knowledge, a task accomplished only through love. Thus, it is the analyst's love that ultimately heals the patient (p. 103).

As a matter of fact, Ferenczi's comment was only an echo of what Freud had written decades earlier. In a letter to Jung written in 1906, in attempting to explain the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis Freud wrote, “Essentially, one might say, the cure is effected by love” (McGuire, 1974, pp. 12-13). A decade later, Freud wrote:

… under the doctor's guidance he, [the patient] is asked to make the advance from the pleasure principle to the reality principle by which the mature human being is distinguished from the child. In this educative process, the doctor's clearer insight can hardly be said to play a decisive part; as a rule, he can only tell his patient what the latter's own reason can tell him. But it is not the same to know a thing in one's own mind and to hear it from someone outside. The doctor plays the part of this effective outsider; he makes use of the influence which one human being exercises over another.

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