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Re: Questions about transference

Posted by Tancred62 on March 19, 2004, at 9:47:28

In reply to Re: Questions about transference lonelygirl, posted by Pfinstegg on March 19, 2004, at 9:28:58

I've already established myself as a cynic (I'll respond to your last post, winged one) and a skeptic, so forgive me if I offend anyone. I suppose my role here is to be that questioning person, the one that gets on your nerves but might make you think. I think Dinah mentioned the importance of such people. And thank you spoc, for your rational analysis on transference. I was thinking all last night, and now, after reading lonelygirl's post, thinking more this morning, that this dynamic known as transference has some problematic paradoxes. One of these paradoxes involves the simultaneity of therapy and fantasy. I realize that some would say that such fantasy (imagining a romantic relationship with the therapist, etc.) is the whole point, and that a good therapist would use that aspect of the therapist/patient relationship to work through past issues and establish new behavior, but at what emotional cost? In one sense, the relationship becomes a sort of play-acting, where therapist and patient (I refer here only to the male therapist/female patient relationship) engage in romantic attachment, flirtation, longing, etc., all for the goal of "repairing" the brain. After reading lonelygirl's post, I can't see how yet another rejection would help her situation. I also don't think that a man in power (therapist) can maintain impartiality when he knows (and most men know) his woman patient sees him and/or his attention as an object of desire. It just seems to duplicate the very dysfunction the patient is trying to mend. I've heard the rhetoric that "good" or "professional" therapists that know how to use transference can control the situation and use the emotional dynamic to advantage, but why should we assume that they are any less human than the patient? Reading lonelygirl's post (that name is truly ironic) one would assume she is talking about a male friend at work, the married guy next door, or the UPS man.

Now I will lurch in the other direction. I once had a woman therapist that was so resistant to ANY notion of intimacy between me and her that it bordered on the ludicrous. How on earth was I (or she) supposed to deny the fact that we were a man and a woman talking about my most intimate feelings? In other words, I was not ALLOWED to ask her any questions about how SHE felt about men, sexuality, her view about relationships, etc. It was all a one-way street where I poured out my feelings to what seemed like a automaton of a therapist. "If you see me downtown don't talk to me. We are not friends." Oh, OK, I'll remember that next time I tell you everything I'm feeling. Jeez! What a joke. What made things worse was that I could not deny (to myself) my attraction to her physically (sexually?). Nonetheless, she was very unattractive as a person; she was, in fact, not a person but anthropomorphic manual. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I completely understand how a more intimate relationship with a therapist could be a good thing. I suppose the ultimate ideal would be to have a therapist as a committed lover (who would talk to you for free!). So, here I am, contradicting myself. But in imagining myself having a more intimate woman therapist I foresee a problem if I wanted to have some transference with her. I think the relationship, and therefore its effects on me, would inevitably be nullified by the intrinsic dynamic between men and woman when they become intimate. I don't see how any real therapy would result. Which brings me full circle to the problem when the patient and the therapist try to use intimacy as a way to healing or improvement. Is there a happy medium?




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