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My Potential Patients: Origins, Detection, and Transference in - page 58 / 69





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Cohen 55

the dead and the living" (173). Nabokov stresses that we will be unable to find

evidence of the otherworld's existence or nonexistence, and "indeed, he suggests, our

very expression of our inability to detect such signals could be their very sign, or in

any case, proof of the inconceivable distance between the conditions of an existence

beyond death and ours" (173-74).

Freud addresses the issue of communication between the world of the

repressed past and the world of the present through his concept of transference,

discussing it in two papers contemporaneous with The

In "The


Dynamics of Transference," Freud argues that one or more "stereotype



how one falls in love are forged in early childhood from a combination of infantile

experience and disposition, and that the pattern they represent is


"constantly reprinted afreshv-throughout life. Although this "transference" occurs

in the relationships of all neurotics, it is easily established with the person of the

analyst (12: 99-101). When the analysis reaches deep enough into the unconscious in

trying to "track down" (102) the libido, a transferential association rises up into the

patient's consciousness, serving as resistance to the analytic detective work (103-4).

As the duration of an analysis increases, the patient's resistance increasingly employs

this negative and unconscious positive transference as a way of distorting the

Transference plays a crucial, if subtle, role in The



In his introduction to the case, Freud

notes that he was able to secure the patient's cooperation only by cultivating the growth of his positive, conscious transference, then setting a deadline for the end of the analysis: "Under the inexorable pressure of this fixed limit his resistance and his fixation to the illness gave way, and now in a disproportionately short time the analysis produced all the material which made it possible to clear up

his inhibitions and remove his symptoms" (157). And in the case history itself, I would argue, Freud attempts to set up a transference between his text and the reader, claiming that "I am no less critically inclined than he towards an acceptance of this observation of the child's," meaning the primal scene,

"and I will only ask him to join me in adopting

belief in the reality of the scene" (183).


As the deadline of the end of the case history approaches, Freud hopes that this make-believe situation will allow the reader to overcome his "resistance" to the supreme importance of infantile experience.

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