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Kaplan, D.M. (1971-72). On Transference-Love and Generativity. Psychoanal. Rev., 58(4):573-579.

(1971-72). Psychoanalytic Review, 58(4):573-579

On Transference-Love and Generativity

Donald M. Kaplan, Ph.D.

The title of my remarks—“Transference-Love and Generativity”-suggests that I plan to say some things about love as it occurs in the clinical situation. One of the concepts in my title has to do with love as it is expressed by the patient; that is, transference-love, a concept originated and explicated by Freud.6 The other concept—generativity—comes from Erik Erikson,3 and it might be thought of in the clinical situation as a therapeutic form of love in the therapist that reciprocates the transference-love of the patient. Since I shall not be developing any concepts new to you, nor even teasing out meanings lurking in familiar concepts, I expect I shall be much more discursive than didactic. Indeed, since today is Sunday, I may even take the liberty of a little sermonizing.

My thesis is simple: In the clinical situation, transference-love is to generativity as a dependent variable to an independent variable. In other words, transference-love is advanced in complexity and is thus made available to modification only to the degree that generativity operates in the therapist. Here, of course, I acknowledge a bias, which is that transference-love is something to be modified.

Let me begin with some brief observations on transference-love. You will undoubtedly remember that Freud demonstrated the concept in one of his papers on technique with the example of the female patient who falls passionately in love with her male doctor.

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