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This short abstruse critique examines changing concepts of transference as the term is used in Freudian psychoanalysis. The theory is that in the course of the hourly sessions, an ambience is created in which the analysand transfers to the analyst the long-buried feelings and emotional difficulties experienced in relation to significant other people in his or her life--a parent, spouse, or lover, for example. Many analysts believe that transference and interpreting transference are central to analysis; they dismiss the importance or relevance of other reactions or comments of the patient. Leites, a scholar in the field but not a practitioner, denies this. He feels that numerous statements the patient makes in relation to external events or other people form an important contribution, often revelatory of past conflicts. He cites a variety of case histories to the point. For example, a news report of a fire coupled with awareness of sexual misconduct of some friends leads one patient to a chain of association that dredges up Oedipal-charged events which occurred when he was four years old. Throughout, Leites' approach is gently admonishing rather than accusatory. He is fond of pointing out self-contradictory statements, and muddled use of terminology, and likes to refer back to Freud himself as a true pragmatist making use of anything produced in the analytic session as a guide to understanding. The many citations to the literature, the asides on problems of imbalance (strong patient, weak analyst) or resolving transference, make this book more appropriate for specialists and students than the public at large.

Pub Date: Feb. 26th, 1979
Publisher: Norton