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Re: Questions about transference Tancred62

Posted by spoc on March 19, 2004, at 15:01:43

In reply to Re: Questions about transference, posted by Tancred62 on March 19, 2004, at 9:47:28

>> I've already established myself as a cynic...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 do know what you mean (not that you intended for this to spin off into a subject in itself)! I feel like that person too sometimes, as in my very first post on this thread. I need to watch my words and was afraid maybe I had offended. But the "cynicism" you refer to is probably just as often mere realism. Whichever, the difference may be in where it comes from and where it gets applied. It could come from having the contrary thoughts spontaneously; or from consciously looking for contrary thoughts to plant; or both. Here I think you're exhibiting the first, genuine wondering, as I was. The other type has clear value too for debate purposes, but in this setting probably needs to be weighed more carefully first.

Regarding your actual points, about all I can say (well that's rarely true) is, switch your name for mine and I could have written it myself. Ya got me! I alternate between trying to use logic to see and present the positive side of something, and speaking from my gut, which is often more "cynical" or possibly realistic. But I never got answers to the things you're wondering about either. With my pdoc the romantic (positive) transference never came up; I debated him about the instances of what he presumed were negative transference, and how that could ultimately result in usefulness. Because he admitted near The End that trans in general was the lion's share of his "treatment;" said current or historical life events and specific symptoms (e.g. compulsions, anxiety attacks, eating disorders, etc.) were of much lesser importance to discuss.....

Actually I can see the potential simplicity in negative transference more so than I can in the positive (that is the term for that type), erotic trans you're talking about. With negative, if the therapist does at some moments feel to you like (e.g.) the bully who terrorized you in youth and whom you now feel the presence of in many people, maybe you'll see by acting out on and defending yourself to your therapist that HEY! Not only is everyone out there NOT Bruiser, but I see I can effectively stand up for myself and not end up collapsing or dying! Nifty! (In reality I doubt it's often that streamlined, and as I've seen, some would be better or less dangerous with its application than others). But in the love/erotic cases I don't get it either, unless the patient truly couldn't feel anymore and any stirrings whatsoever in heart or pants would be a good thing. And I'm going to look into the brain hemisphere/relational transference-type approach that the women here talked about. But WOW, that I have even more trouble visualizing and making sense of sequentially. Your observations are all very good and deserve up-front answers but....


.....I bet that's the only time we may be able to get them -- UP FRONT. As in, print out and bring your post to your initial consultation and say, "Satisy me on how this stuff pans out first." (Putting cart before horse as far as pos/erotic trans of course, but you could frame it all more generally.) When I finally rose up and insisted on the discussion, to be shown how and if there is a light at the end of the pos./neg. transference theory tunnel, I was only deflected to how much more difficult our work would be if I tended to question. Well, I know broad distrust is usually bad, but I thought blind faith usually is too (but actually I did have it in him for awhile due to my own trans-idealization). So, I suppose that pdoc was in effect saying, "People's problems are caused by the intangible forces in themselves that they don't understand, and that's a bad thing they need to become conscious of to control. So let's begin by using an intangible force you don't understand but it'll be a good thing, so forget about the needing to become conscious and control parts for now and just trust me on this....I promise I'll try not to bump into anything unintentionally while I have your skullcap off.....What's that you say? Your insistence on solid answers and good information has demonstrably served you very well in the past? This is only making our work here harder (for ME that is! Ha ha. But no problem, I call that I get to say it's yet another personality problem of yours and we'll add it to the list! OOPS! There I go bumping into things unintentionally already. Oh well, you'll never figure it out, and I have more pills for that anyway)."

I AM TRULY (MOSTLY) JUST COMPOSING A TOPIC-INSPIRED PIECE HERE, APOLOGIES TO ALL!!!! On a serious note, I was cheered up enough here to be able to do that.

>> 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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