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Infatuation in the transference

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In psychoanalysis, a sign that the psychoanalytic method is taking hold is 'the initial infatuation to be observed at the beginning of treatment',[1] the beginning of transference. The patient, in Freud's words, 'develops a special interest in the person of the doctor...never tires in his home of praising the doctor and of extolling ever new qualities in him'.[2] What occurs, 'it is usually maintained...is a sort of false love, a shadow of love', replicating in its course the infatuations of 'what is called true love'.[3]

Some however claim that it is wrong to convince the patient 'that their love is an illusion...that it's not you she loves. Freud was off base when he wrote that. It is you. Who else could it be?'[4]—thereby taking 'the question of what is called true love...further than it had ever been taken'.[5]

Conversely, in countertransference, the therapist may become infatuated with his/her client: 'very good-looking...she was the most gratifying of patients. She made literary allusions and understood the ones he made....He was dazzled by her, a little in love with her. After two years, the analysis ground down to a horrible halt'.[6]


See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Jacques Lacan, Ecrits: A Selection (London 1997) p. 241
  2. Sigmund Freud, Introductory Lectures in Psychoanalysis (PFL 1) p. 491
  3. Jacques Lacan,The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis (London 1993) p. 123
  4. Janet Malcolm, Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession (London 1988) p. 149
  5. Lacan, Fundamental p. 123
  6. Malcolm, p. 79
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