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Marshall, R.J. (1992). Understanding Countertransference: From Projective Identification to Empathy. Michael J. Tansey & Walter F. Burke. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1989. 222 pp.. Mod. Psychoanal., 17(2):266-267.

(1992). Modern Psychoanalysis, 17(2):266-267

Understanding Countertransference: From Projective Identification to Empathy. Michael J. Tansey & Walter F. Burke. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1989. 222 pp.

Review by:
Robert J. Marshall

Inspired by Merton Gill and his view of the power of transference, Tansey and Burke has attempted to bridge the intrapsychic and interpersonal realms in their exploration of the impact that transference has on the therapist. The authors use the concepts of empathy and prjective identifiacaion to describe countertransference in its “totalistic” sense.

In their history section, Tansey and Burke discuss Freud's positions about countertransference. They conclude that although he was ambivalent about the value of countertransference, his basic stance was that a good analysis could “purify” the analyst so that the unconscious of the patient could easily flow into the analyst. Citing the significance of Deutsch, Fleiss, Racker, AKlein, Sandler and Ogden, Tansey and Burke emphasize Theodor Reik's early and neglected contribution. The oversight apparently weas due to Reik's position in the psychoanalytic hierarchy and the fact that he did not use the term countertransference to describe the “induction (in the analyst) of the hidden impulses and emotions” of the analysand. As the authors argue for a two-person model, they describe how analysts turned from the healthy (analyst)-sick (analysand) adult model toward a developmental mother-child model. The also agree with Racker's notion that classical analysts emphasize the person, Oedipus, rather than consider the dynamic interaction of Laius and Oedipus—a conceptualization which focused on the patient rather than on the analyst and patient. Winnicott's notion that there is no such thing as an infant in relevant in this context. In this otherwise scholarly section, there is a lack of reference to modern psychoanalytic contributions to the development of the use of the countertransference.

Concerned

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