Among the earliest concepts in psychoanalysis, transference surfaced before psychoanalysis as a system had even jelled in Freud’s mind. In 1895 in Studies in Hysteria (Studien über Hysterie), Freud said that patients who "transfer" their attitudes toward another person onto the analyst himself are erecting obstacles to therapy: "Transference [Übertragung] to the physician occurs through a false linkage." At first, Freud was merely annoyed at this sort of nuisance—patients who recalled the barely conscious wish to kiss a male acquaintance now wanting to kiss Freud himself and feeling so embarrassed about it that they were unable to free-associate properly in the analytic session. But then Freud began to realize it was therapeutic "to motivate the patient to reveal situations where apparently personal issues involving a third person coincide with the physician." By the end of the analysis, the patients come to understand that this kind of transference is an illusion and it dissolves, he said (Gesammelte Werke, I, pp. 308–310).
   Later, Freud came to see transference as inevitable and one of the basic therapeutic mechanisms of analysis. In a paper on "The Dynamics of Transference" ("Zur Dynamik der Übertragung"), published in 1912 in the Central Journal of Psychoanalysis (Zentralblatt für Psychoanalyse), he described the positive transference of the patient to the physician (fine feelings, manners) and the negative transference (sexual desire). Both had to be worked through. "This battle between doctor and patient, between intellect and the world of desire, between recognizing something and wanting to act on it, is carried out almost exclusively among the phenomena of transference. It is on this battlefield that victory must be won, the sign of which is a lasting recovery from neurosis" (Gesammelte Werke, VIII, p. 374).

Edward Shorter. 2014.

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