A Rereading of Freud’s “Observations on Transference-Love”
The discovery of transference love belongs to the historical context of the cathartic treatment of Anna O. by Josef Breuer between 1880 and 1882, on which S. Freud, from the perspective of a supervisor, so to speak, gave an “interpretive reconstruction” in 1893. Freud’s allusion at the end of “Observations on Transference-Love” to the quotation from Hippocrates which Schiller used as an epigraph for his drama Die Rauber suggests that he was well aware of his own revolutionary impetus. Freud’s connotative allusion to Heinrich Heine’s depiction of the inaccessibility to political arguments, which is itself perfectly comparable to the implicit interpretation of a countertransference resistance by a pseudoparameter, is impressively perceptive. Freud discusses how the treatment can be carried on in spite of the erotic transference in a detailed argument supporting the demand for abstinence, according to which the analyst should neither satisfy nor reject the patient’s unconscious drive wishes but should interpret them.