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Gray, S.H. (1990). Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. LII. 1988: The Patient as Selfobject: a Form of Countertransference. F. Diane Barth. Pp. 294-303.. Psychoanal Q., 59:337.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. LII. 1988: The Patient as Selfobject: a Form of Countertransference. F. Diane Barth. Pp. 294-303.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 59:337

Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. LII. 1988: The Patient as Selfobject: a Form of Countertransference. F. Diane Barth. Pp. 294-303.

Sheila Hafter Gray

We have paid insufficient attention to those countertransference reactions in which an analyst views the patient as a selfobject, someone who confirms or enhances the analyst's self-regard. Analysts may place their own needs before those of patients and engage in anti-therapeutic countertransference enactments. They may be angered by a regressed or resistant patient who makes only slow progress. They may experience and respond to a patient's free association that challenges their therapeutic effectiveness as if it were a comment about them rather than a manifestation of transference. The author believes that when narcissistic countertransference feelings occur, they are best used as a tool for understanding the patient. In many instances, however, the therapist's self-esteem may be subject to extra stress by a supervisor's comments that tend to cast doubt on the therapist's capacity for empathic listening. These may impede the unfolding of the transference. An effective supervisor will support the developing therapist's healthy investment in psychoanalytic work, and at the same time help the therapist discover the roots of a selfobject countertransference in the patient's transference.

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Article Citation

Gray, S.H. (1990). Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. LII. 1988. Psychoanal. Q., 59:337

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