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On The Analyst's Neutrality

On The Analyst's Neutrality


O N THE ANALYST'S NEUTRALITY WARREN s. POLAND, M.D. T WAS NOT UNTIL 1915, A YEAR AFTER psychoanalysis had grown to such an extent that he had already published a paper on the history of the psychoanalytic movement (Freud, 1914) and five years after he first spoke of countertransference (Freud, 1910), that Freud for the very first time used the word “neutrality” in the psychoanalytic sense in his writings: “In my opinion . . . we ought not to give up the neutrality towards the patient, which we have acquired through keeping the countertransference in check” (Freud, 1915, p. 164). So long a delay in the appearance of so important a clinical concept is not hard to understand. Clinical psychoanalysis had been born as a product of Freud's own revolutionary insights into his personal unconscious conflicts. Thus, it was a self-analysis that served as both germ and organizing principle for the developing life of our field. Great consequences have resulted from this seminal role of a self-analysis rather than a two-person analysis, e.g., the lateness in recognition of the significance of the transference and the countertransference, the effect of two different persons on each other. The unfolding theory
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