ABSTRACT

The term “enactment” was introduced into the psychoanalytic lexicon by Theodore Jacobs in his 1986 paper, “Countertransference Enactments.” This paper was the beginning of Jacobs’ large body of work devoted to illustrating how the interplay between the psychologies of patient and analyst affects the course and outcome of psychoanalytic work. Over the years, through numerous clinical vignettes presented in rich detail and with engaging style, he has illustrated how unintended actualizations in the transference-countertransference matrix create symbolic versions of the patient’s core confl icts and object-relational patterns. The concept of enactment now supplements the traditional understanding of transference and countertransference which, while essential, denote too much of an artifi cial separation from the process by which the patient’s unconscious fantasy is brought to life in the unconsciously lived-out drama of the analytic pair.