Book Reviews -- Countertransference: Theory, Technique, Teaching Edited by Athina Alexandris and Grigoris Vaslamatzis

Article excerpt

ATHINA ALEXANDRIS AND GRIGORIS VASLAMATZIS, EDS.: Countertransference: Theory, Technique, Teaching. Karnac Books, London, 1993, 269 pp., $34.50.

This collection of articles describes the therapist's use of self as an instrument for understanding unconscious and preverbal experiences of patients. It is divided into: a) theoretical and technical aspects of countertransference; b) clinical illustrations; and c) impact in supervision.

In the first section, Hana Segal elaborates on the view that during transference the patient projects feelings "into" rather than "onto" the analyst. She discusses the importance of alternating between experiencing, observing, and interpreting patients' feelings and cautions therapists to remember that "countertransference is the best of servants but the worst of masters" (p. 20). Thomas Ogden defines projective identification as the dynamic interplay between the intrapsychic and the interpersonal in which therapists experience patients' thoughts, feelings, and internal objects. Its phenomenological references include: a) the projector's unconscious fantasies; b) subtle interpersonal pressure; and c) countertransference experience. Finally, Leon Grinberg describes projective counteridentification as the analyst's response to the analysand's projective identifications. It differs from complementary countertransference in that it does not reactivate the analyst's conflicts with his or her own internal objects. Grinberg believes that successful management of projective identification includes: a) introjection of the patient's material; b) metabolization of the patient's projections; and c) reprojection of metabolized material via interpretation.

The second section of this book gives a variety of clinical examples of transference-countertransference phenomena with regressed or difficult patients (including projective identification and counteridentification). Athina Alexandris used myth to understand both her patients' experiences and her own countertransference. …