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Re: Transference and Counter-Transference?

Posted by seldomseen on February 16, 2009, at 18:41:35

In reply to Transference and Counter-Transference?, posted by SLS on February 16, 2009, at 17:51:05

I'll take a stab at this...

Well, the short, short answer is that transference refers to feelings that the client may develop for the therapist, the therapeutic process, or anything related to therapy.

Countertransference refers to feelings that the therapist may develop for the client, or when in the presence of the client in response to their affect, what they are saying, or actions.

In some schools of psychiatry, transference can be used as a powerful tool to move the therapy forward and should be allowed to exist, be expressed and analyzed in the therapeutic space. These same schools quite often believe that countertransference, though typically not expressed to the client, is a valuable internal guide for the therapist.

Other schools dismiss transference as a remnant of the therapeutic process.

Most of the time transference is not typically thought of as a "real" feeling, but rather an aspect of the client or previous relationship that the client has projected onto the therapist for some reason or the other.

Yes, that is, IMO the short short answer.

My personal belief that my own therapist (psychodynamically oriented, but very much of the "whatever works" school of psychiatry) believes and has convinced me of is that transference feelings, good or bad, are real and natural reaction to the intimacy of the therapeutic space (rather contrived though that intimacy may be). He viewed it as a breakthrough, in fact, when I expressed that I was experiencing deep, powerful feelings for him. He literally clapped his hands together.

Sometimes I think he might be slightly bonkers himself.

But, then again, trust and attachment are HUGE issues for me, so the fact that I had developed some kind of reaction to him other than indifference and outright hostility was, in reality, a landmark therapeutic event for me.





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