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Kris, A.O. (1990). The Analyst's Stance and the Method of Free Association. Psychoanal. St. Child, 45:25-41.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 45:25-41

The Analyst's Stance and the Method of Free Association

Anton O. Kris, M.D.


The concept of the analyst's stance is employed to organize a number of ideas about psychoanalytic work, past and present, especially from the viewpoint of the method of free association. Beginning with an emphasis on the intrinsic uncertainties and paradoxes of the analytic process, the author reviews the importance of words, the aim of mastering resistances (i.e., promoting freedom of association), and functional neutrality on the analyst's part. The problem of anonymity is considered from a number of angles. Two traditions of transference are described, deriving from Freud's overlapping early formulations. The distinction between old and new determinants in the two kinds of transference is useful and important in the analyst's stance. Attitudes toward insight, resistance, and conflict resolution are considered from the perspective of the distinction between divergent and convergent conflicts, with special emphasis on the role of punitive, unconscious self-criticism.

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