By Irwin Hirsch

Winner of the 2009 Goethe Award for Psychoanalytic Scholarship!

Irwin Hirsch, author of Coasting in the Countertransference, asserts that countertransference adventure constantly has the aptitude for use productively to profit patients. However, he additionally observes that it isn't strange for analysts to 'coast' of their countertransferences, and not to use this adventure to assist therapy growth towards attaining sufferers' and analysts' said analytic goals. He believes that it really is very common that analysts who've a few unsleeping knowledge of a frustrating element of countertransference participation, or of a mutual enactment, however do not anything to alter that participation and to take advantage of their expertise to maneuver the treatment ahead. in its place, analysts might like to retain what has built into maybe a at the same time cozy equilibrium within the remedy, in all likelihood rationalizing that the sufferer isn't but able to take care of any capability disruption extra lively use of countertransference could precipitate.

This 'coasting' is emblematic of what Hirsch believes to be an ever current (and hardly addressed) clash among analysts’ self-interest and pursuit of snug equilibrium, and what might be excellent for sufferers’ fulfillment of analytic goals. The acknowledgment of the facility of analysts’ self-interest extra highlights the modern view of a really two-person psychology notion of psychoanalytic praxis. Analysts’ include in their egocentric pursuit of cushty equilibrium displays either an acknowledgment of the analyst as a wrong different, and a possible willingness to desert parts of self-interest for the better stable of the healing venture.

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Extra info for Coasting in the Countertransference: Conflicts of Self Interest between Analyst and Patient

Example text

I would have told her that I had no idea about this relationship because I had not recently been attuned to her, and then invited her to respond to this disclosure. I was very conscious that my far greater than normal anxieties and dysphoric preoccupations removed me from Sally in a way that was familiar to her. An opportunity to address this urgent enactment was lost largely due to my choice to perpetuate a selfish comfort in hiding and in efforts to soothe myself. My sometimes inclination toward hypomanic denial was touched upon in a clinical paper addressing the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, tragedy (Hirsch, 2003b).

Clearly, some analysts listen more carefully than others, are more passionately involved, and are likely to keep in mind a considerable amount of data about their patients. It is equally apparent that some patients’ lives are more compelling, and/or their presentation more demanding, making their analysts’ memory for details about them better than it is with other patients. And, when patients are seen multiple times per week and/or over a number of years, analysts tend to remember more historical detail as time goes by.

Most of my patients said nothing about any changes in my demeanor they may have noticed (or not noticed). Those who remarked on my manner asked if something was troubling me, or if I was unusually tired. I acknowledged that something troubling was on my mind, but not of life-or-death proportion. indb 29 1/10/08 11:06:26 AM 30 Coasting in the Countertransference was clearly reluctant to discuss. Sally, a banker in her late 30s, whom I had been seeing for less than one year, had focused almost exclusively on her mercurial and fundamentally unsatisfying life history with men.

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