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Davies, J.M. (1994). Love in the Afternoon: A Relational Reconsideration of Desire and Dread in the Countertransference. Psychoanal. Dial., 4(2):153-170.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 4(2):153-170

Love in the Afternoon: A Relational Reconsideration of Desire and Dread in the Countertransference Related Papers

Jody Messler Davies, Ph.D.

The psychoanalytic exploration of the analyst's erotic countertransference has remained a subject rarely addressed in open collegial dialogue. This paper addresses this professional reticence as a manifestation of two interwoven resistences. The first, an avoidance of the physiologically based substrata of self and object organization growing out of certain preconceptions derived from a structural-drive model. And the second, an unwillingness to view the parent/analyst as a full participant in the child's romantic oedipal struggles. An alternative formulation based on a reconfigured, relational model of mental structures is suggested. Here the physical experience of self in relationship to a host of significant internalized others becomes a meaningful organizing component for both the patient and the analyst, one that must be incorporated into the ongoing exploration of transference-countertransference manifestations. Likewise, the unfolding oedipal situation between parent and child, patient and analyst, is viewed from the perspective of a two-person model within which the shared symbolic participation of both becomes a necessary prerequisite for the kind of resolution that lays the groundwork for mature love. A clinical example in which the analyst felt it necessary to disclose the presence of erotic countertransference is explored from several perspectives.

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