History of Countertransference: From Freud to the British Object Relations School, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

History of Countertransference

From Freud to the British Object Relations School, 1st Edition

By Alberto Stefana


156 pages

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Paperback: 9781138214613
pub: 2017-06-06
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pub: 2017-06-06
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The constant and polymorphous development of the field of psychoanalysis since its inception has led to the evolution of a wide variety of psychoanalytic ‘schools’. In seeking to find common ground between them, Alberto Stefana examines the history of countertransference, a concept which has developed from its origins as an apparent obstacle, to become an essential tool for analysis, and which has undergone profound changes in definition and in clinical use.

In History of Countertransference, Stefana follows the development of this concept over time, exploring a very precise trend which begins with the original notion put forward by Sigmund Freud and leads to the ideas of Melanie Klein and the British object relations school. The book explores the studies of specific psychoanalytic theorists and endeavours to bring to light how the input from each one may have been influenced by previous theories, by the personal history of the analyst, and by their historical-cultural context. By shedding light on how different psychoanalytic groups work with countertransference, Stefana helps the reader to understand the divergences that exist between them.

This unique study of a key psychoanalytical concept will be essential reading for psychoanalysts in practice and in training, and academics and students of psychoanalytic studies and the history of psychology.


‘The present volume is a comprehensive, detailed, and eminently fair analysis of the gradual development, problems and increasing sophistication of the concept and therapeutic utilization of countertransference. Stefana provides the historical background to the controversial origin of the discovery of the countertransference complications in the management of transference, and appropriately deepens the description of new theoretical and clinical developments to permit the reader to reach his own conclusion regarding the contemporary controversies of countertransference management. This book is a fascinating history of psychoanalytic discoveries, and should of great practical interest not only to the psychoanalytic clinician, but it is also a scholarly contribution to the study of developing psychoanalytic science.’ - Otto Kernberg, MD; psychoanalyst and professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, USA.

'This superb history of the concept of countertransference makes an invaluable contribution to our field. The depth, breadth and range of Alberto Stefana’s understanding and his outstanding scholarship make this book essential reading for anyone who is engaged in the study and practice of analytic therapy.' - Theodore J. Jacobs, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, USA.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Robert Hinshelwood. Introduction. The origins of the notion of countertransference. Freud and the psychoanalytic movement between the foundation of the IPA, the Great War and the turning point of 1920. The contribution of the early pioneers. The Second World War, the controversial discussions and the tripartite division of the British Psychoanalytic Society. The work of Melanie Klein and her influence on the development of the concept of countertransference. 1947-50: the watershed years. The contribution of the British school of object relations: first phase. The development of the concept of projective identification: a medium of communication. The contribution of the British school of object relations: second phase. Some non-conclusive considerations.

About the Author

Alberto Stefana is a psychotherapist in private practice in Brescia, Italy.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis