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Gabbard, G.O. (1992). Commentary on “Dissociative Processes and Transference-Countertransference Paradigms …” by Jody Messler Davies and Mary Gail Frawley. Psychoanal. Dial., 2(1):37-47.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 2(1):37-47

Commentary on “Dissociative Processes and Transference-Countertransference Paradigms …” by Jody Messler Davies and Mary Gail Frawley Related Papers

Glen O. Gabbard, M.D.

According to legend, Bion was once asked for his thoughts in the midst of an extraordinarily chaotic group relations conference involving heated conflicts between groups and individuals. His response to the question was that he did not find the circumstances conducive to thinking (Symington, 1990). In a similar vein, analysts who attempt to treat patients with dissociative disorders as a consequence of childhood sexual abuse find themselves in the eye of a veritable hurricane that erodes what Fleming (1973) referred to as the analyst's work ego. Rational thought and quiet, introspective reflection are severely compromised by the sheer forcefulness of the reenactment of the patient's internal object world. Davies and Frawley have captured these paradigms with vividness and clarity. I fully concur with their view that the transference-countertransference developments arising from the patient's internal object relations may serve as either a gateway to recovery or a trapdoor to a mine field of problematic countertransference enactments. As Lisman-Pieczanski (1990) notes: “Contact with these patients deeply affects the therapist's inner balance and capacity to understand and care. Thus, the analytic process frequently includes the analyst's cyclic attempts to rescue his or her analytic capacity” (p. 145).

The authors' eloquent essay is replete with sound clinical wisdom for those who rise to the challenge of treating incest survivors.

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