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Altman, N. (2004). History Repeat Itself in Transference: Countertransference. Psychoanal. Dial., 14(6):807-815.

(2004). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 14(6):807-815

History Repeat Itself in Transference: Countertransference

Neil Altman, Ph.D.

The dynamics of the larger society inevitably are manifest in intrapsychic dynamics, as well as interpersonal interactions, in and out of the psychoanalytic consulting room. Traditional psychoanalytic inattention to the social world predisposes analysts to enact unreflectively some of the racist and classist patterns in the social world around us in our clinical work. This author argues first that U.S. psychoanalysis, as a field, has sought to define itself as white, thereby demonstrating the influence of racism in this country. Second, in a clinical example, the author demonstrates the subtle imprint of racism and classism in a dyad in which both participants are conventionally classified as white. He concludes that open discussion of U.S. history and of the past and current social location of psychoanalysis as a field goes hand in hand with increased awareness of the ways in which social forces organize psychoanalytic interactions.

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