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Nissen, B. (2013). The Scene in the Psychoanalytic Initial Interview. Rivista Psicoanal., 59(4):961-975.

(2013). Rivista di Psicoanalisi, 59(4):961-975

The Scene in the Psychoanalytic Initial Interview

Bernd Nissen

Freud's «Katharina» (1891) represents for Argelander (1978) the first psychoanalytic initial interview, even though Freud remained sceptical towards individual interviews and recommended a trial treatment (Wegner, 2000, 172). The recommendation of a trial treatment is extremely interesting in that we can quite definitely regard it as an extended interview process in which the psychoanalytic method and technique are fully applied. Put more succinctly, this means that it is only in the interview conducted in the psychoanalytic setting that the question of diagnosis and indication can be answered. This position is not without controversy (Wegner, 2000, 173; 2012a; Reith et al., 2012).

In my view there have been two further developments in psychoanalysis that made it possible to conceptualise the initial interview as a psychoanalytic encounter between two people.

Firstly, the radical shift in perspective that resulted from the revised version of countertransference (see the frequently overlooked work of Deutsch, 1926; Heimann, 1950). The theoretical and clinical developments of this concept, continuing until today, cannot be presented here, yet we should recall Heimann's opinion. She writes: «the analyst's counter-transference is not only part and parcel of the analytic relationship, but it is the patient's creation, it is part of the patient's personality» (1950, 83).

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