Intrapsychic and Interactive Dimensions of Resistance: A Contemporary Perspective

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An integration of contemporary perspectives on resistance analysis is presented that emphasizes the salience of both intrapsychic and interactive dimensions of this phenomenon. Viewed as embodying desperate psychological imperatives imbued with unconscious infantile misconceptions, resistance is presented as serving multiple functions and encompassing aspects of all mental action within the psychoanalytic situation. Finding the analytic resources to exploit its relevant meanings is described as a central and indispensable aspect of working in depth. Several basic strategies for working with these phenomena are delineated in this article and the continued usefulness of understanding the role of resistance as guardian of psychic equilibrium is highlighted. Emphasis is given to safeguarding an analytic relationship that both sustains the patient and provides a vehicle for the exploration and modification of resistant activity.

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