In psychoanalysis the analyst encourages the ‘patient’ into a state of phantasy and illusion.
How do they do this? The ‘patient’ necessarily arrives with some preconceptions about the analyst. Typically, the ‘patient’ will be in a vulnerable state of some kind and predisposed to exaggerate the importance and prestige of the analyst. From the start there is an imbalance. An imbalance which the analyst seizes on and uses. Typically, the analyst will do a few things to create an impression of himself as an authority figure. One typical ruse involves using titles to confer a sense of authority: for example use of the title ‘Dr’ even when the analyst is not in fact a practicing doctor, use of various other kinds of credentials to lend an aura of professionalism to what is in fact an entirely unregulated industry – such as health care credentials obtained in previous careers e.g. the DipSW, or MA’s of various kinds. Their offices may be lined with technical sounding books of various kinds. They often claim to have written ‘papers’ – in fact, these are usually very academically weak contributions published in their own journals. These have nothing to do with scientific papers contributed to properly managed peer-reviewed journals; but are presented as such. And so on.
Everything is done to to encourage the vulnerable ‘patient’ to develop an exaggerated and false view of the authority and professional status of the analyst. The patient is encouraged into a state of illusion. The illusion is then sustained by the simple trick of the analyst not giving away anything about himself. (In normal relations we often start a relationship with someone with some ‘projections’ about them. But in normal relations the other interacts with us and thus gives us an opportunity to correct our false perceptions. By not giving away anything about themselves psychoanalysts deliberately prevent this process of correction from taking place). Psychoanalysis remarks that it is characteristic that the patient typically ‘projects’ onto the analyst and develops a false view of him. But psychoanalysis does not admit that it deliberately fosters this process – by the tricks described above, and others. This is one of the typical little dishonesties of psychoanalysis. (The well-known critic of psychoanalysis Jeffrey Masson comments on these dishonesties. It is not possible to believe that psychoanalysts are simply making mistakes. The little falsities in their position must be obvious to them. They must be being knowingly dishonest). At any event psychoanalysis claims that this state of illusion is helpful to the patient. From here the patient projects onto the therapist. Entering into a relationship based on phantasies about whom/what the analyst is he ‘transfers’ feelings from his past life (e.g. feelings he had as a small boy towards his father) and in this transference resolves knots from his past life. None of this is particularly true – except for the fact that the patient is in a state of illusion and phantasy. Richard Webster in his book Why Freud was wrong: