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Robbins, A. (1988). The Interface of the Real and Transference Relationships in the Treatment of Schizoid Phenomena. Psychoanal. Rev., 75(3):393-417.

(1988). Psychoanalytic Review, 75(3):393-417

The Interface of the Real and Transference Relationships in the Treatment of Schizoid Phenomena

Arthur Robbins

As I've examined my own experience in analysis and the clinical material I've accumulated, I'm struck with the effectiveness of interweaving the real relationship into the transferential relationship when working with schizoid phenomena. On one level, there is the teasing apart of the nonverbal cues and symbolic communications in order to distinguish transference, countertransference, and real components of the evolving therapeutic process. On another level, the real relationship actually becomes a conduit for the processing of analytic material. Contrary to the classical analytic stance, which maintains that introduction of a real relationship truncates the flow of transferential material, I maintain that judicious and active use of the real relationship opens the way for exploration and growth.

By way of an introduction, I would like to relate a personal memory that became an organizing symbol during my personal analysis and has no doubt influenced the development of my approach to treatment of the schizoid. I recall long hours of sitting in a big black baby carriage in the sun, tucked away from outside passing traffic. As I grew up, the carriages changed; first a black one, then a brown one, but invariably I was safely swaddled away all by myself. There are few affects or associations connected to this early memory. Later on, I do recall playing with cheese boxes that were used to construct a musical instrument.

As vividly as this memory stands out for me, and as important an image as it now seems, I had little to say about this experience during the initial phase of treatment.

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