Mosaic of Orpheus and Eurydice

from Lillebonne (public domain)

Welcome to this study group.


1. The Fly Scene from Orpheus In the Underworld by Offenbach.

2. Che farò senza Euridice from Orfeo ed Euridice by Gluck (This was the last public appearance of Janet Baker in an opera)

There are a few items worth reading:

1.Sections of Plato’s Symposium

  1. Discussion about two goddesses called Aphrodite by Pausanias
  2. Aristophanes Fable about the Other-half
  3. Socrate’s resume of the words of Diotima
  4. Alkiabides arrives drunk and sleazy
  5. Socrates “ecstasy” On his way to the symposium Socrates dropped behind in a fit of abstraction, and desired Aristodemus, who was waiting, to go on before him

2 An important case discussion and follow-up by Brian Thorne. Please borrow from inter-library loans. This is a must for all engaged in therapeutic relationships.

'Beyond the Core Conditions', in Dryden W. (Ed.), 'Key Cases in Psychotherapy', Croom Helm, London. 1987

 'Body and Spirit' in Dryden, W. (Ed.), 'Questions and Answers on Counselling in Action', Sage, London. 1993


3. Articles on “transference” in reputable psychoanalytic dictionaries online such as  

  1. NoSubject
  2. International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis edited by de Mijolla. (there is a free or maybe pirate version on line)

4. Sigmund Freud & Josef Breuer Studies in Hysteria especially the recent translation by Luckhurst and introduction by Bowlby. Penguin Classics. Chapter 2: Anna O


Tristan Garcia Hate: A Romance
Julia Kristeva Teresa, My Love: An Imagined Life of the Saint of Avila
Elif Shafak : The Gaze 

Psychoanalytic Writings

R. Horacio Etchegoyen The Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Technique

John Kerr A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud and Sabina Spielrein Paperback 2012. Made into a movie by David Cronenberg available as DVD.

Julia Kristeva Tales of Love

J Lacan Transference: Seminar 8 ed Miller or free online ed. Gallagher:

J Lacan On Feminine Sexuality, the Limits of Love and Knowledge: Seminar 20 ed Miller

Ethel Spector Person On Freud's "Observations On Transference-Love” Karnak 2013

Seminar 1


1. Stories about Orpheus & Eurydice

I will mention these ancient stories regularly. Wikipedia is a good source to check. The stories are about love and loss. When Orpheus is about to regain his lost relationship, the Other dies again.

2. Aspects of Love/Transference

I find these three aspects or dimension helpful:

sleazy, sexy, seductive

3. What is Transference?

See Freud's postscript to Dora p 103 in the new Penguin Freud Edition entitledThe Psychology of Love. This is a very succinct statement of his notion of "transference".

Freud did not have technical or scientific words available to describe his "discoveries". He used ordinary words. Please note the dexterity of the word Ubertraegung in early twentieth century German.

transmission noun

transfer noun

transference noun

communication noun

transcription noun

broadcast noun

assignment noun

translation noun

devolution noun

copying / copy/ facsimile noun

conveyancing noun

passing on noun

screening noun

2. Some Questions I asked myself when preparing for this seminar

Do transferences occur elsewhere?

Are many transferences or just one?

Is transference fully formed, unitary or partial, piecemeal, evanescent?

Do transferences change over time?

Are transferences ever dangerous?

3. The Story of Anna O 

Anna O, or the young Bertha Pappenheim, was a patient of Breuer. Bertha & her family was well known to the future Frau Freud, as well as Freud himself. She became a politically active Feminist in Austria and Germany who was proud of being Jewish

An anecdote attributed to Freud.

I was in a position to guess what really happened with Br’s patient long after we parted company when I recalled a communication from Br dating from the time before our joint work and relating to another context, and which he never repeated. That evening, after all her symptoms were overcome, he was again called to her, and found her confused and writhing with abdominal cramps. When asked what was the matter she responded, "Now the child I have from Dr. Br. is coming". At that moment he had in his hand the key which would open the way to the Mothers, but he dropped it. With all his intellectual talents he was devoid of anything Faustian. He took flight in conventional horror and passed on the patient to a colleague. She struggled for months in a sanatorium to regain her health./ I was so sure of my reconstruction that I published it somewhere. Br’s younger daughter (who was born shortly after the conclusion of that therapy, which is not irrelevant as to a meaningful connection) read my portrayal and asked her father about it (this was shortly before his death). He confirmed my analysis, which she later relayed to me

4. Other stories,  other words.

Studies in Hysteria: here Freud is transitioning from hypnosis to what eventually became Freudian psychoanalysis. With Frau Emmy von N. Freud begins to realise that she, and other patients, attribute or project all sorts of things onto the "doctor".  These attributes Freud calls "false connections". He viewed them as ways of sabotaging the cure.


My first-person experience is of Freudian, Group, and Lacanian psychoanalysis. Late in life, I am no longer an orthodox anything as far as psychoanalytic theory is concerned.

I guess I am canvassing my own view that "transference" in psychoanalysis is best approached as a non-relationship.

To my way of thinking, once a practitioner begins to imagine s/he  is in a "relationship" with an analysand, however therapeutic, analysis ceases and something else takes place instead.

Like Eurydice, analysis disappears; leaving grief behind.


For Discussion:

To what extent is Transference a non-relationship?

Can the same be said of your Object or Objects of love?

How about pets and transferences?


public domain TATE
Lucian Freud; NARCISSUS
not on display


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