Enactment Controversies: A critical review of current debates

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Ivey, Gavin ORCID: 0000-0002-5537-3504 (2008) Enactment Controversies: A critical review of current debates. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 89 (1). pp. 19-38. ISSN 0020-7578


This critical review of the current disputes concerning countertransference enactment systematically outlines the various issues and the perspectives adopted by the relevant psychoanalytic authors. In the light of this the ‘common ground ’ hypothesis concerning the unifying influence of contemporary countertransference theory is challenged. While the existence of enactments, minimally defined as the analyst’s inadvertent actualization of the patient’s transference fantasies, is widely accepted, controversies regarding the specific scope, nature, prevalence, relationship to countertransference experience, impact on the analytic process, role played by the analyst’s subjectivity, and the correct handling of enactments abound. Rather than taking a stand based on ideological allegiance to any particular psychoanalytic school or philosophical position, the author argues that the relative merits of contending perspectives is best evaluated with reference to close process scrutiny of the context, manifestation and impact of specific enactments on patients’ intrapsychic functioning and the analytic relationship. A detailed account of an interpretative enactment provides a context for the author’s position on these debates.

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Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/3728
DOI 10.1111/j.1745-8315.2007.00003.x
Official URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-...
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Keywords ResPubID19127, actualization, analytic attitude, containment, countertransference, enactment, introspective–expressive gradient, self-disclosure
Citations in Scopus 29 - View on Scopus
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