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Richmond, M.B. (2004). Counter-Responses as Organizers in Adolescent Analysis and Therapy. Psychoanal. St. Child, 59:145-166.

(2004). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 59:145-166


Counter-Responses as Organizers in Adolescent Analysis and Therapy

M. Barrie Richmond, M.D.

The author introduces Counter-response as a phenomological term to replace theory-burdened terms like counter-transference, counter-identification, and counter-resistance. He discusses the analyst's use of self (drawing on the comparison with Winnicott's use of the object) in processing the expectable destabilizing counter-reactions that occur in working therapeutically with disturbed adolescents and their parents. Further, he discusses the counter-reaction to the patient's narrative, acting-out, and how re-enactments can serve as an organizer for understanding the patient's inner life when the analyst formulates his/her counter-response.

Emphasis is placed on the therapist forming his or her own narrative with the adolescent that takes into account the evoked counter-reaction. For this purpose, the author recommends the use of a combined counter-response and metaphor-orienting perspective to acknowledge and work with the denial, illusions, reversal of perspective, and catastrophic anxieties experienced with these adolescents. The counter-response perspective permits the emergence of the disturbed adolescent's novel narrative; however, since these experiences can be destabilizing or disruptive, the author also recommends the use of a personal metaphor to anticipate the reluctance to examining, processing, and formulating the analyst's dysphoric counter-reaction. With the use of the counter-response, the analyst's therapeutic ideal is to achieve a more optimal balance between using accepted narrative theories and exploring novel enactment experiences. His swimming metaphor stratagem is designed to keep the analyst in these difficult encounters.

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