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Couch, A.S. (2002). Extra-Transference Interpretation: A Defense of Classical Technique. Psychoanal. St. Child, 57:63-92.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 57:63-92


Extra-Transference Interpretation: A Defense of Classical Technique

Arthur S. Couch, Ph.D.

New psychoanalytic techniques stemming from various object relations and Kleinian frameworks have increasingly diverged from many of the principles of classical analysis, such as interpretations of genetic transference, resistances and reconstructions of the past. In contrast to the wide-ranging foci of classical technique, the so-called modern analysis is narrowly focused on the interpretation of transference in the here-and-now analytic relationship. This change in technique is attributed to paradigm shifts from Freud's intrapsychic metapsychology to two-person theories about internal object relationships, infantile phantasies and countertransference. This paper examines important elements of this broad issue through a specific focus on the controversy over the therapeutic value of extra-transference interpretations vs. here-and-now transference interpretations. An extensive review of the literature is followed by excerpts from published analyses to illustrate the different clinical styles of classical vs. modern analysis. Freud's actual analytic work with a patient is presented to show his natural, rule-free clinical style is very different from his early technique papers. Classical technique is also illustrated by a description of relevant aspects of the author's own training analysis with Anna Freud. Finally, a clinical vignette illustrates the author's approach to extra-transference material and its interpretation.

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