Available at Karnac Books, as well as Amazon; in hardback, paperback, and digital forms.

A book published by Process Press, in October 2016.covercttr

Countertransference and Alive Moments:
Help or Hindrance

** Click for a copy  
** Click for some extracts

The nstigating moment for this book was coming across Elizabeth Spillius’ comment
      “[An analyst] who made interpretations in terms of verbal and behavioural content seen in a rigidlysymbolic form… now seems likely to have been detrimental to the recognition of alive moments of emotional contact” (Spillius 1988, p. 8-9).
That implicit and unconscious reaction that turns psychoanalysis into a technical procedure has often resulted in the two partners remaining in a distant, only semi-engaged encounter, avoiding the life of a closer human relationship.  This points to the importance of ‘alive moments’, and is not so dissimilar to Freud’s thought:
       “After all, his [the patient’s] conflicts will only be successfully solved and his resistances overcome if the anticipatory ideas he is given tally with what is real in him” (Freud 1917a, p. 452).
This captured my concern to understand the analytic encounter as a live interaction between two people, and indeed to understand how it was that a psychoanalysis might go for long periods with a process that was troublingly lacking in life, and indeed has been described as nothing short of an impasse (Rosenfeld 1987).  Some years after Spillius, Ogden also acknowledged:
       “[I had] become increasingly aware over the past several years that the sense of aliveness and deadness of the transference-countertransference is, for me, perhaps the single most important measure of the moment-to-moment status of analytic process” (Ogden 1995, p. 695).
The journey I pursue here with the reader will start with the conventional chronology of the historical and clinical debate, but then emphasise the importance of those moments of life in the clinical process.  Gauging the significance of the alive moments, and the dead ones, is an approach to the analyst’s subjectivity as well as the patient’s.  Our journey includes the importance, over the years, of the problems of intimacy sent to test the helping hand, and it seems to frighten the psychoanalyst, as often as not.  It is a thrilling journey for the analyst, however challenging as well, in pursuit of alive moments of contact, human to human.  These moments are to be treasured. 

Bob Hinshelwood


A video linkFreud Memorial Lecture 2016,

Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex

Truth or Treachery     (click)



Research on the Couch: Subjectivity, Single Case Studies and Psychoanalytic knowledge  (2013)       [click]

Bion’s Sources: The Shaping of his Paradigms (2013)      [click]


Text of a recently published paper:

“Alive moments: A personal reflection on what countertransference means” 

The paper is also published on the Free Associations website

A video interview with RD Hinshelwood, conducted by Michael Roper for THERIP

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