chapter  6
The contact resisted, broken and restored in psychoanalytic work
Managing the pain and the pleasure
ByJohn Madonna
Pages 13

Spotnitz (1985) originated the notion of following the contact function of the patient in order to create the stimulus-free environment necessary for the emergence of the narcissistic transference. Others in the Modern School (Ernsberger, 1979; Margolis, 1994; Meadow, 1987, 1989, 2003; Spotnitz & Meadow, 1976) were able to discuss the central importance of this phenomenon as a prerequisite for understanding and intervening with measured questions, which joined, reflected and mirrored the patient’s communications, unconscious intentions and tolerances. Yet following the contact also involves more than this. It requires the ability on the part of the analyst to regress, be induced, into the early psychic world of the patient, where libidinal impulses are strong and dangerous. In the course of this journey the analyst is inevitably brought to the re-experience of his own subjective transferential and countertransferential world, in whatever state of resolution or irresolution that may be in.