Q9. Technical neutrality
Neutrality was first formally defined by Anna Freud (1936, p. 28), who said that in doing his work the analyst "takes his stand at a point equidistant from the id, the ego, and the superego."
Offering what is perhaps the most comprehensive formulation of neutrality that has appeared to date, Schafer lists six characteristics of the neutral position:
- The analyst allows all conflictual material to be represented, interpreted and worked through. He takes no sides in the consideration of these conflicts.
- The analyst avoids both the imposition of his own values on the patient and an unquestioning acceptance of the patient's values.
- The analyst is unpresumptuous as to the desirability of alternative courses of action which the patient is considering. He does not unilaterally try to make anything happen and does not try to bring about a certain kind of change because he believes in it in principle.
- The analyst is non-judgmental not only with respect to the patient, but also with respect to others in the patient's life.
- The analyst subordinates his personality to the analytic task.
- The analyst totally repudiates any adversarial conception of the analytic relationship.
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