IPA Inter-Regional Encyclopedic Dictionary of Psychoanalysis

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transference position from which the analyst’s ego is now perceiving, thinking and feeling. To the degree to which such an internal state/position/attitude does not cross over into action, but is experienced as ‘induced’, it may include variously conceptualized ‘projective identification’ and/or ‘role responsiveness’. * An enactment , if the unresolved countertransference is discharged in action. There is wide debate as to the utility and inevitability of such phenomena. Many contemporary writers advance views of countertransference enactments allowing for the emergence of otherwise inaccessible (archaic, not fully symbolized) unconscious material, which, if understood and interpreted, constitutes an opportunity for the analytic pair to discover new meaning. To the degree to which it is experienced as unconsciously evoked/induced/inspired by the patient’s (however subtle) actions, it includes variously conceptualized projective identification and role responsiveness, and may be an escalation of the countertransference position or state above (See the separate entry of ENACTMENT). A contemporary Latin American dictionary (Borensztejn, 2014) depicts the above clinical conceptual plurality in a broad ranging summary statement: from countertransference as covering everything what emerges in the analyst as a psychological response to the analysand , to the term countertransference being reserved for what is infantile, irrational and unconscious in the latter’s relationship with the former. Overall, there is a wide consensus today across all three continental cultures that countertransference and transference have to be considered as 'twin' concepts and in constant interplay with each other – transference triggers countertransference and vice versa . They depict central dimensions of the analytic relationship: transference focuses on the psychic processes of the patient in relation to the analyst, countertransference on those of the analyst in relation to the patient. The clinical interest in countertransference has grown steadily throughout the history of psychoanalysis. Countertransference, as well as transference, was first seen as an obstacle to the treatment. Later, until today, they have both been widely understood to be quasi 'royal roads' to the unconscious of both actors. This entry will first follow the evolution of the various meanings of countertransference within the evolution of psychoanalytic theory and unfolding conceptual frameworks, with a consequent attempt at their categorization in the Conclusion of the entry. The remarkably international character of the conceptual evolution is noted throughout. As a matter of style, publication’s titles are capitalized and enclosed in quotation marks; quotation marks with page numbers listed next to them designate verbatim citations; italics highlight the defining features of the concept within a particular school of thought, or an emerging terminology.


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