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Jelliffe, S.E. (1916). Technique of Psychoanalysis.. Psychoanal. Rev., 3(1):26-42.

(1916). Psychoanalytic Review, 3(1):26-42

Technique of Psychoanalysis.

Smith Ely Jelliffe


The dynamics of the entire psychoanalytic situation and the possibilities of cure by its application lie in the correct management of the transference. Inasmuch as these notes have been planned for the beginner in psychoanalysis it is desirable to have a fairly clear idea of what is meant by transference.

There is no adequate definition of transference. In fact the whole attitude of this series of articles is one distinctly opposed to the utilization of definitions. Definitions are too apt to be sterile condensations of the meaning of words rather than dynamic principles for the understanding of things. Hence I shall not try to define transference, I shall attempt to describe it.

In order to do this I must again remind the beginning analyst what we have considered to be the chief goal in the libido striving. Libido is considered in this series of articles as the living vital energy, which, flowing into various forms, as Bergson has so well expressed it, may be compared to a string of pearls. The organized living forms of plants and animals are comparable to condensations at different points along the string. We term the latest crystallization man, the next, possibly, shall we say, the superman, not that of Nietzsche, but the true superman, the futuristic, socialistic ideal, more closely allied to the symbolic Christian ideal than any as yet reached. In its endeavor to make the superman, this libido utilizes the principle of reproduction. It may thus possibly reach its goal, physical immortality. We are considering human problems for human beings and are not interested in questions that have no human interests. Hence whether there is a life after death or not we shall not discuss. Why man wishes one however we shall take up. The presence or absence of the fact is of little significance. For humans it has no solution; but the wish is essentially human and occupies the very focus of the problem we have set out to comprehend in this chapter.

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