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Baum, O.E. (1969-1970). Countertransference. Psychoanal. Rev., 56D(4):621-637.

(1969-1970). Psychoanalytic Review, 56D(4):621-637


O. Eugene Baum, M.D.

In reviewing the psychoanalytic literature on countertransference certain questions arise. The term seems to have different meanings for different writers—theoretically, as well as clinically. To what extent are these differences semantic? How much do they reflect basic difference in theoretical concepts and clinical application? How useful is countertransference? How does this reflect on the differences regarding the areas of psychoanalysis proper as compared to psychoanalytic psychotherapy? Inasmuch as transference itself is basic to the concept of countertransference, how has the gradual evolution of psychoanalytic theory, e.g. the structural concept, affected the original attitude toward and definition of countertransference? I will return to these questions in my discussion of the reviewed material.

Jones12 described a trip to Italy and Sicily, taken by Freud and Ferenczi, when the latter's insatiable longing for Freud's love led to an attitude of “bashful admiration and mute opposition” and an intense desire for intimacy. There was to be no privacy and no secrets between him and Freud, but he could not express this openly and waited for Freud to make the first move, but the latter was in no such mood. After they got home Ferenczi wrote one of his long, explanatory letters of self-analysis in which he expressed his fear that after his recent behavior Freud might have no wish to have any more to do with him, but Freud in his answer was friendly as ever.

October 6, 1910.

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