chapter  9
17 Pages

Mutual Idealizations and the Disavowed

I turn now to the dynamics of mutual idealizations within the analytic dyad and their role in therapeutic collapse. The notion that we might be involved in being idealized by our patients-or in idealizing them-collides with our professional ideal. Yet we analysts are vulnerable to participating with our patient in establishing and maintaining jointly held illusions. While those illusions most often take shape around the patient’s vision of us, at times this process tilts in the other direction: we idealize our patient more than the reverse. Here, I illustrate idealization’s coconstructed edge-and the collisions it can create-by examining Winnicott’s treatment of Masud Khan and Harry Guntrip.