Herbert Rosenfeld was a British psychoanalyst who made significant contributions to the understanding of personality disorders. In 1987, his book “Impasse and Interpretation” was published, which focused on the psychoanalytic treatment of patients with severe personality disorders.
In the book, Rosenfeld describes his theory of the “psychotic organization,” which refers to a state of mind in which the individual’s ego and internal object relationships are severely disturbed. He argues that patients with severe personality disorders, such as borderline and narcissistic personality disorder, often have this kind of organization, which makes them resistant to therapy.
Rosenfeld emphasizes the importance of the therapist’s ability to tolerate the patient’s intense emotional reactions, which are often expressed in the transference. He argues that the therapist must work to interpret the patient’s unconscious anxieties and defences, while also being careful not to overwhelm the patient with too much interpretation too quickly.
Rosenfeld also discusses the importance of the therapist’s countertransference, arguing that the therapist’s own emotional reactions to the patient can provide important clues to the patient’s unconscious conflicts.
“Impasse and Interpretation” has been influential in the field of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, particularly in the treatment of patients with severe personality disorders. However, Rosenfeld’s ideas have also been subject to criticism and debate, particularly around the potential for therapist abuse of power and the use of interpretation in the context of severe transference and countertransference difficulties.