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Carlson, S.N. (2009). Whose Hate is it? Encountering Emotional Turbulence in the Crosscurrents of Projective Identification and Countertransference Experience. Psychoanal. Rev., 96(6):895-915.

(2009). Psychoanalytic Review, 96(6):895-915

Whose Hate is it? Encountering Emotional Turbulence in the Crosscurrents of Projective Identification and Countertransference Experience

Sue N. Carlson, M.A., FIPA

This paper details a particularly disturbing and confusing countertransference experience I had in relation to a patient whom I saw in psychoanalysis four times per week. This experience was unique in its intensity, and investigating it furthers my goal of studying and thinking about an aspect of my development as a psychoanalyst. I refer specifically, to the use of my mind and sensory/somatic experience as a resonating instrument—one that I might use with some degree of reliability to understand what is happening both within my patient and between my patient and me in the transference/countertransference dynamics of a psychoanalytic therapy session.

I begin by defining the concepts of projective identification and countertransference in order to trace the evolution of these theoretical concepts and how they informed changes in emphasis of technique within the Kleinian and post-Kleinian school of thought. I consider the importance paid to the notion of what it means to be impacted by a patient and how the analyst's use of his or her private thoughts and feelings has come to be thought of as a means of detecting the transference.

I then provide an introductory description of my patient “Maude,” followed by a narrative of a session that occurred after my winter holiday and two months prior to her leaving treatment. Included in the clinical material is commentary on my thoughts and feelings as I noted them at the time.


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