chapter  9
20 Pages

Countertransference and enactment

ByBernard Reith, Mette Møller, John Boots, Penelope Crick, Alain Gibeault, Ronny Jaffè, Sven Lagerlöf, Rudi Vermote

This chapter discusses a clinical case that illustrates vividly the passages between countertransference, acting in and enactment in the first encounter. Vice versa, if the analyst can listen to his/her own countertransference responses to the vicissitudes of a first interview, she/he can give thought and meaning to the enactments and acting in that emerge within the couple at work. Contemporary psychoanalysis assumes that countertransference involvement comes into play from the very first instant with a patient. If the analyst is in deep contact with the countertransference while listening to a potential analysand, this can provide useful clues about the person's ability to benefit from analysis. Defence and enactment on both sides play an important role and threaten to leave little room for elaboration. Several French-speaking authors hold the view that enactment is based on the action of words or behaviours, rather than on words as linked to a symbolization process.