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Hirsch, I. (1992). The Value of Naive Directness in Countertransference Work: Commentary on Mark Blechner's “Working in the Countertransference”. Psychoanal. Dial., 2(2):191-203.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 2(2):191-203

The Value of Naive Directness in Countertransference Work: Commentary on Mark Blechner's “Working in the Countertransference” Related Papers

Irwin Hirsch, Ph.D.

Blechner's paper is a bold one. It aims to suggest a radical shift in psychoanalytic inquiry and attempts to assimilate some of the ideas of an old radical into current thinking. Ferenczi was a man ahead of his time, and his influence upon postclassical psychoanalysis is not yet sufficiently appreciated. The democratic foundation of his mutual analysis appeals to Blechner, who attempts to modify it and to update it. Indeed, the author finds much value in the idea that the patient is capable of clearly seeing the personality features of the analyst and how these personal qualities affect the analytic work. He views the patient as a sophisticated observer, when given the invitation. This view enables the patient to give to the analyst as well as to receive, to help the analyst be a better analyst and/or person, and to assume a more equal role in the dyad. It gives the very useful message to the patient that he or she can assume an active role in life and in destiny and not simply wait passively for supplies from the healer (wisdom, cure, and so on). This kind of analytic attitude is in accord with the existential strain inherent in many interpersonal psychoanalysts as well as with what I consider to be a strong current trend in the field. This view of the patient as coparticipant in a two-person analytic interaction is fundamentally in harmony with the broad spectrum of relational thought: contemporary interpersonal; intersubjective; liberal classical; object relational; to some degree, self-psychological; and what Hoffman (1983) has called the social paradigm.

Blechner's notion of the patient as observer of the therapist is more a part of current thinking than he may realize (see Hoffman, 1983; Hirsch, 1987).

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