Countertransference

By | October 14, 2015
Patrick Mahony

Patrick Mahony

Patrick Mahony’s insight. Dealing with a potential problem like countertransference is something that Sigmund Freud dealt with in two of his most famous treatments.

The issue of countertransference and its effect on the treatment of patients undergoing psychoanalysis came to light more than a century ago. Sigmund Freud noted how the life history of the psychoanalyst inevitably weaves its way into how the problems of a patient that have been licited are then handled.

In two of Freud’s most famous cases, Ernest Lanzer is iconically dubbed as the “Rat Man,” and Ida Bauer acquires the pseudonym of “Dora.” During the span of each of these cases, Patrick Mahony was able to detect clear signs of countertransference with respect to Freud.

With Lanzer, the Rat Man name was derived from Freud’s belief that Lanzer was identifying himself (in an unconscious manner) as a rat. After exploring the case history, Patrick Mahony believed that Freud’s need to show that he achieved a full cure in this case was a stretching of truth.

The basis of Freud’s desire for touting a full recovery was the growing popularity of psychoanalysis, where he stood at the forefront.

Freud indicated in his contemporary notes that Lanzer was treated over an 11-month period, when Patrick Mahony discovered that the primary treatment only spanned a few months, followed by inconsistent meetings over the remainder of that time.

In Bauer’s case, the name of “Dora” came about undoubtedly from the nickname given to a childhood nursemaid of Freud’s sister. Patrick Mahony notes that the connection stemmed in part from the fact that Bauer abruptly ended treatment, with Freud making the link to the fact that because she had indicated that she came to the decision two weeks earlier, it sounded like a maid or governess.