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Tip: To see Abram’s analysis of Winnicott’s theories…

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In-depth analysis of Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theorization was conducted by Jan Abrams in her work The Language of Winnicott. You can access it directly by clicking here.

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(1959). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 28:143-144.

(1959). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 28:143-144

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society


The author demonstrates how various derivatives of the family romance contribute not only to the content but to the process and construction of the transference in treatment. A readiness for transference stems in part from the patient's disillusionment with the parents and his need to search for them as lost objects in the form of new parents, which the analyst represents. One patient fantasied being adopted into the analyst's family. A woman patient, who fantasied father substitutes during intercourse, feared the analyst would become the object of these fantasies and that divorce from her husband would result. The analyst became the disguised, incestuous object, whereupon dreams and fantasies concerning rescue, especially from water, resulted, and were found to contain wishes to present the analyst with a baby. Rescue fantasies derived from the family romance also contribute to the transference in the wish to be saved by the analyst's treatment, or the contrary wish to rescue the analyst from obscurity, poverty, etc. Overidealization of the analyst may spring from the wish for a nobler parent.

Defenses against hostile and erotic wishes can also be found in family romance fantasies. Desexualization of the analyst frequently derives from desexualization of the parents in childhood, where it occurred as protection against sexual and hostile Oedipal wishes. The wish to change analysts may cover fears of disillusionment stemming from the parents, as may also scepticism and cynicism.

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