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Tansey, M.J. (1994). Sexual Attraction and Phobic Dread in the Countertransference. Psychoanal. Dial., 4(2):139-152.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 4(2):139-152

Sexual Attraction and Phobic Dread in the Countertransference Related Papers

Michael J. Tansey, Ph.D.

Since the middle of this century, countertransference theory has steadily evolved to a point where we now find abundant references in our literature involving extremely useful self-disclosive examinations of a broad spectrum of potentially disruptive countertransference responses. Our collective attitude of openness and even excitement at the potential usefulness of such responses in deepening our understanding of our patients, ourselves, and the nature of our work has been profoundly beneficial. And yet despite our advances from the early days of psychoanalysis when powerful countertransference was viewed strictly as an impediment, an atmosphere of disapproval and dread continues to pervade the phenomenon of erotic countertransference, which in turn contributes ironically to the alarming incidence of sexual abuse of patients by therapists of every orientation and level of experience. The roots of our collective intolerance are explored, beginning with Breuer's treatment of Anna O and Jung's entanglement with Sabina Spielrein. Case material is presented involving erotic countertransference, and a position is taken regarding future directions that ar e vital to our profession.

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