Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 323332

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Re: saying what you are feeling.. Pfinstegg

Posted by DaisyM on March 18, 2004, at 23:33:53

In reply to Re: saying what you are feeling.. spoc, posted by Pfinstegg on March 18, 2004, at 16:01:11

We spend a ton of time on "our" relationship too...it is nice to know the brain information. I always like to know the "whys".

We also talk about early attachment interruptions and the fact that therapy can repair those if the Therapist stands steady and true. It is taxing on them, they encourage the attachment and then must withstand the terrible neediness that crops up. My Therapist has evolved into my "safe base" in attachment speak and I am learning to trust that this base is secure. That means lots of contact and we immediately address anything that effects the connection we are building, which can be really hard. Talking about my feelings for my Therapist means being honest about my fears about not deserving therapy, or his support. eew-ick...that is hard for me. The fact that he is so available to me makes it easier in some ways and harder in others.

I can't imagine a blank slate. I would have run and never come back. I need reassurance that at least that I'm going in the right direction and I need my brain fed with the theoretical as well as intepretations of what I am presenting. I also need someone to remind me why I need therapy when it gets really hard and I want to run from it. I guess I need "permission" sometimes to do things for myself that feel self-indulgent.

I also don't think gender matters. It is how you relate to whom you are working with.

 

Questions about transference

Posted by lonelygirl on March 19, 2004, at 2:00:16

In reply to Do you and your t. say l love you ever?, posted by KindGirl on March 11, 2004, at 18:06:26

Hmm, where to begin? I have been to several psychologists and psychiatrists over the last 10 years or so, never of my own volition. My parents forced me in jr. high and high school and even now (I am in college), make me take Prozac and go to a psychiatrist for refills a couple of times a year (except I don't actually take the meds, but that's another whole topic, I guess!).

Anyway, I recently got in trouble at school and was forced to go to counseling at the student health center as my punishment. The way it works there is that one goes to an initial consultation/evaluation, and if recommended for treatment, one goes on a waiting list and is assigned to the next counselor with an opening. My initial consultation was with a psychologist who had recently (about 6 months earlier) earned his Ph.D. from the same school, but did not have a license.

Between the time of my consultation and getting on the waiting list, he had finished his licensing requirements, so I got assigned to him (actually, he later told me that he had requested for me to be assigned to him). He recommended 6 sessions. Needless to say, I was not happy about the circumstances of being forced to go to counseling, and I just wanted to get it over with. That, combined with the fact that I am a very reserved person, made me a bit uncooperative. I didn't have a very good opinion of psychologists in general, so I didn't have a very positive attitude about the counseling (or the psychologist himself) from the beginning, but I thought the psychologist was nice, so I gradually became more and more comfortable with him. By the time the mandatory counseling was over, I had begun to feel attracted to him, and though I had intended all along to stop after I finished my "sentence," I would miss him too much, so I ended up continuing anyway.

Well, that was a long-winded background to introduce my actual question... I have not told him how I feel about him, and I am actually quite embarrassed about feeling this way. Searching on this phenomenon was actually what brought me to this web site. I had never realized that this "transference" was so common, accepted, and even welcomed by some psychologists. Still, I definitely do not feel comfortable telling this guy how I feel (he is married, by the way, and I know there is no chance of an actual relationship with him) -- especially because I am overweight and unattractive and have been rejected by every guy I have ever liked.

I feel tortured by these feelings that I can't even tell him. I know that he does not feel this way about me, and I suspect that he may actually DISLIKE me. I told him about my latter suspicion, and he tried to convince me that it was not true. He complimented me in very personal, meaningful, and seemingly sincere ways that only cemented my feelings for him. He also said that he feels "drawn to" me when I open up to him (because I was very reserved and unforthcoming initially) and he feels "close to" me when I talk about things with him. But he has certainly never said anything close to "I love you," and I get the feeling he would be uncomfortable with that surfacing from me. I know that his theoretical orientation is in cognitive-behavioral and interpersonal psychology, and I have read in a couple of places that cognitive-behavioral does not believe in "transference." Is this true? If so, how does the cognitive-behavioral approach (or the interpersonal approach) consider these types of feelings of a patient for her psychologist? What is recommended by this approach when these feelings occur? I was advised by someone at another web site (a M.SW. therapist) to consider seeing a female psychologist instead because my feelings for my male psychologist are "sabotaging" the therapy.

I hope somebody made it through this long, rambling post and will be kind enough to respond... thanks.

 

Re: Therapists and compassion/interaction-Peg, Pfi spoc

Posted by Crooked Heart on March 19, 2004, at 4:16:23

In reply to Re: Therapists and compassion/interaction-Peg, Pfi, posted by spoc on March 18, 2004, at 22:09:15

Hi Spoc

I'm in the middle of reading a book called "Falling into therapy" by Anna Sands. The author's experience sounds very similar to yours. Her first experience of therapy with a rigidly psychoanalytic therapist left her disoriented, undermined, her confidence shattered; a teacher and author of educational textbooks, she was for a while unable to function. (Her mental health previously had been OK, she went into therapy to help her 'become a better wife and mother'.)

She later went to a therapist with a very different approach and had a much happier and very productive experience.

This book was published in the UK. I'm not sure whether it would be available in the US without a whopping postal charge. In fact, it might be too depressing to read anyway :( If you're interested I'll try to do a summary when I've finished reading it. (Could be a while, I should *not* even be posting here now, there are deadlines I need to meet.) I suppose what I'm thinking is that it's such a relief when you find that you're not the only one, that other people have had similar experiences.

That you still have to PAY for this in money as well makes it that much worse. What would happen if you refused to?

 

Re: saying what you are feeling.. Fallen4myT

Posted by spoc on March 19, 2004, at 8:11:39

In reply to Re: saying what you are feeling.. spoc, posted by Fallen4myT on March 18, 2004, at 22:59:51

Fallen, I think good common sense is a big part of being smart, so your reply sounded plenty smart to me! And funny how the grass is always greener....I would love to be able to be "to the point"! Sometimes it feels like not knowing the language when you start out having only one or two main things you need to say, but it turns into a tree with extensive branches that is giving you a headache and backing up your day! And complicated is not always better, or necessary. I respect how you could post about how you were enjoying the play and lighter side of your therapist interactions without feeling the need to give background and explain the more serious details for strangers happening by. I couldn't do that. Anyway, yes I will keep (or rekindle) the faith, and you guys have helped with that! : )

> Spoc I am not as articulate and smart as it seems most of the posters in here are including you. My posts are kind of basic and to the point. I am so sorry you had a bad experience with that T and it sounds really aweful. I would be jaded too but PLEASE keep an open mind cause there are GOOD once out there..really. Like one of the others said you are the consumer..you gotta SHOP till you find the right FIT :p PUNS Included :)
>
> Tancred62, you seemed a bit concerned about some T's and how they may take advantange of some people ..women like me maybe with our clothes etc.....please as far as me do not be concerned because I cannot be taken advantage:) Plus my T is really a GOOD T and a PRO and very respected in our area...He has been a T a long time and I have had nothing but good treatment from him. Do not judge a book by its cover..I may look good and have fun but I am very protective of me..but thanks
>
>

 

Re: Questions about transference lonelygirl

Posted by Pfinstegg on March 19, 2004, at 9:28:58

In reply to Questions about transference, posted by lonelygirl on March 19, 2004, at 2:00:16

Hi. I thought it was very encouraging- what you wrote about how you initially felt resistant to therapy, but are now beginning to feel some attachment to your T. You would naturally worry about disclosure of sexual feelings, but it's a natural, healthy thing to feel them, and eventually (when you are ready) it will help you even more to disclose them. It's a good feeling to know that they are accepted (even if, in his counter-transference, he had the same feelings for you, he wouldn't tell you or act on them). Your goal is to develop your self-confidence, and remove the self-defeating feelings you have so that you get to have your own great life- sex included! You are only at the beginning of your journey, but you have already done the hardest thing- to begin to trust your T.

 

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?

 

Re: Questions about transference lonelygirl

Posted by spoc on March 19, 2004, at 9:48:21

In reply to Questions about transference, posted by lonelygirl on March 19, 2004, at 2:00:16

Lonelygirl, this worked out well because you had posted on the thread called "I think my psychiatrist doesn't like me..." and I was going to reply there but then here you are! I pasted some of the other version of your post first, since there was additional stuff in it. Replied to both then pasted the version from this thread all at the bottom. Hope that's ok.

>> Anyway, I have been going to a psychiatrist for, oh, about 10 years, I think? My parents forced me when I was in jr. high and high school. They also forced me to go to a psychologist for several years, but eventually, that stopped and it was just the psychiatrist for the meds (I've been on Zoloft and Ritalin, Welbutrin, and currently Prozac). I go maybe 2 or 3 times a year for refills. She asks her standard questions (How are "things" going? Are you having any suicidal thoughts? Etc.) and I give her all the standard answers (Fine; no; etc.) and she gives me the prescription...> It makes my parents happy, but I don't even take the meds. Nobody seems to know the difference, including the psychiatrist. I gave up on psychology/psychiatry a long time ago, because it seemed like they just wanted to shove meds down my throat to "solve" my problems, which obviously does NOT solve my problems. Also, it seems kind of wrong to me that this woman just refills my prescription without even thinking about it or evaluating its effectiveness (or lack thereof). I was not under the impression that this is how "treatment" is supposed to go.
======
I don't think that IS how combination treatment (half talk and half meds) should go! Sounds like you were diverted from the talking part prematurely and put only into a "med management" maintenance thing. I wouldn't get disillusioned from how it went down, maybe as a "youth" decisions are made for us that aren't right. Once on med management only, a pdoc probably has somewhat limited evaluation tools beyond the kinds of questions she is asking you, due to the few minutes you meet for. If they were to do something more extensive it would also cost a lot more for more of their time. But in that kind of meds-only relationship, if you feel something is being under-evaluated, maybe it's the psychotherapist "half" that needs to be revisited. You mentioned in your other post that this pdoc and your current psychotherapist don't know about each other. I'm not sure how -- if ever -- this works, but maybe you could request for them to "pair" for you. OR -- since this pdoc is irrelevant to you and you don't take the meds, maybe you could just go with whoever the campus doc would use, if you are interested in trying meds again....

(now replying to your post on this thread)
I don't know if CBT "embraces" transference as relevant, but I kind of think not. I think it acknowledges that feelings do cross over sometimes, but not necessarily, and that it's not a key element for addressing issues.

Regarding your feelings for your current doc, I never did get to the part either where I really understand HOW it's supposed to be that transferred romantic feelings get redirected into the person's real life and they end up better for it. Maybe this is an opportunity for you to work through what has felt like rejection from men. For instance if initial idealization has anything to do with it, maybe you'll see why you "pick" who you do and why it ends up hurting. (Armchair logic, watch out!) BUT -- actually I wonder if it might take specific training and/or *experience* for a therapist to make constructive use of the patient's feelings or even to handle them so that pain is minimized. Your campus doc sounds like a nice and compassionate person but maybe you should get another unbiased professional opinion, say from someone you wouldn't actually be switching to, on whether a change might be better. Unless you are in therapy with the kind of fabulous-sounding, "relational" practitioner that some of the women on this thread have mentioned (who make use of the transference), I can't see either how progress doesn't get sabotaged (of course a classic analyst like the one I was unloading about welcomes transference too, but don't go there, it's not handled with care). Maybe there is a common life theme in there you really should work through, but perhaps not first, with someone inexperienced? Could you bring yourself to, after getting another opinion, ask the campus doc flat out if for your own sake maybe you should switch?

Tidbit: I used to think of transference as the romantic thing only. Now I know from my analysis experience that it is any feeling, absolutely bad ones too. I don't think I ever gave off strong -- if any signs -- when I was feeling attraction ("positive" transference). But as if everything would play out on cue in accordance with the textbook model of transference in general, my pdoc forced situations in order to believe he was feeling to me like all the key problematic figures in my life (whom he identified and overgeneralized about based on two initial sessions). I.E.:

HE: (In instances of speaking at all) "MMmmm, now I feel like a scary boss to you..." "Now I feel like a judgmental peer to you...." etc.

ME: Uh, no, actually you don't...

HE: [in essence] OVERRULED! And why does it matter to you if I think that...

ME: Becauuuuuse...you're wrong and we should clear it up?

HE: OVERRRULED! My you're paranoid! (I'm paraphrasing big time for sure)

Anyway those would be examples of "negative" transference (if he was right about feeling like those people to me, that is).

(other thread again)
>> Nobody answered the question about what "pdoc" means! I have a pretty good guess that it's psychiatrist...

That was and still is my guess too!

-------------
>> Anyway, I recently got into some trouble at school (I am in college) and was forced to go to counseling at the student health center as my punishment.... I just wanted to get it over with. That, combined with the fact that I am a very reserved person, made me a bit uncooperative. I didn't have a very good opinion of psychologists in general, so I didn't have a very positive attitude about the counseling (or the psychologist himself) from the beginning, but I thought the psychologist was nice, so I gradually became more and more comfortable with him. By the time the mandatory counseling was over, I had begun to feel attracted to him, and though I had intended all along to stop after I finished my "sentence," I would miss him too much, so I ended up continuing anyway. > Well, that was a long-winded background to introduce my actual question... I have not told him how I feel about him, and I am actually quite embarrassed about feeling this way. Searching on this phenomenon was actually what brought me to this web site. I had never realized that this "transference" was so common, accepted, and even welcomed by some psychologists. Still, I definitely do not feel comfortable telling this guy how I feel (he is married, by the way, and I know there is no chance of an actual relationship with him) -- especially because I am overweight and unattractive and have been rejected by every guy I have ever liked.
>
> I feel tortured by these feelings that I can't even tell him. I know that he does not feel this way about me, and I suspect that he may actually DISLIKE me. I told him about my latter suspicion, and he tried to convince me that it was not true. He complimented me in very personal, meaningful, and seemingly sincere ways that only cemented my feelings for him. He also said that he feels "drawn to" me when I open up to him (because I was very reserved and unforthcoming initially) and he feels "close to" me when I talk about things with him. But he has certainly never said anything close to "I love you," and I get the feeling he would be uncomfortable with that surfacing from me. I know that his theoretical orientation is in cognitive-behavioral and interpersonal psychology, and I have read in a couple of places that cognitive-behavioral does not believe in "transference." Is this true? If so, how does the cognitive-behavioral approach (or the interpersonal approach) consider these types of feelings of a patient for her psychologist? What is recommended by this approach when these feelings occur? I was advised by someone at another web site (a M.SW. therapist) to consider seeing a female psychologist instead because my feelings for my male psychologist are "sabotaging" the therapy.
>
> I hope somebody made it through this long, rambling post and will be kind enough to respond... thanks.

 

Re: Therapists and compassion/interaction Crooked Heart

Posted by spoc on March 19, 2004, at 10:36:04

In reply to Re: Therapists and compassion/interaction-Peg, Pfi spoc, posted by Crooked Heart on March 19, 2004, at 4:16:23

Crooked Heart, the book summary you gave already did wonders for me in itself. I can't stress enough that I'm seeing that this board and thread really do have the potential to help heal. And I think it is unique amongst boards, in that almost always someone chimes in to present another view; stop a slanted downward spiral that could discourage others; etc.

I really do think I will put my unhappy experience in perspective much faster now and be less likely to store it with the things in my life that have felt like negative reflections on my character and substance. I just hope I can hurry up and snap out of the behaviors that have followed this upset...Retreating into myself and my computer as everything and everyone around me (and even myself physically) are unattended to.

Since I was so completely left to my own devices/imagination for so long with that analyst who wouldn't respond to direct and timely questions, I wondered if maybe he didn't want to ever "reward" or be positive with me because he might have jumped to the conclusion that instead I'm the type who needs to be knocked down from some ego trip or "attention seeking" behavior. I just couldn't imagine any other reason to treat/react to someone that way. But I wish he knew that in reality it is massively hard for me to ask for help or even small favors on any level whatsoever and I keep everything inside from friends and family (in the solitude of 'writing' on my computer, it's obviously another story). It's gotten to the point that I can't hide or deny that I'm disappearing more and more, and try as I might I know I sound different when I finally have to return those accruing phone calls or else someone will probably send the police over here. But that pdoc was the only person I opened up to or asked for help, an ear, or for a little "validation," which went against my twisted sense of pride and empowerment through self-blame (responsibility) to begin with. Which are big parts of what I need help with. But he taught me only to redouble (triple, quadruple) my tendency to be an island unto myself and not to seek a lift or kind word from any other.

BUT you are all helping to head that off at the pass, and I thank you.

--------
> Hi Spoc
>
> I'm in the middle of reading a book called "Falling into therapy" by Anna Sands. The author's experience sounds very similar to yours. Her first experience of therapy with a rigidly psychoanalytic therapist left her disoriented, undermined, her confidence shattered; a teacher and author of educational textbooks, she was for a while unable to function. (Her mental health previously had been OK, she went into therapy to help her 'become a better wife and mother'.)
>
> She later went to a therapist with a very different approach and had a much happier and very productive experience.
>
> This book was published in the UK. I'm not sure whether it would be available in the US without a whopping postal charge. In fact, it might be too depressing to read anyway :( If you're interested I'll try to do a summary when I've finished reading it. (Could be a while, I should *not* even be posting here now, there are deadlines I need to meet.) I suppose what I'm thinking is that it's such a relief when you find that you're not the only one, that other people have had similar experiences.
>
> That you still have to PAY for this in money as well makes it that much worse. What would happen if you refused to?

 

Re: Questions about transference

Posted by Dinah on March 19, 2004, at 11:19:41

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

> 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.

Hmmm... Are you referring to the NASA floor of people? Just to be *absolutely* clear, I said nothing about getting on people's nerves in order to accomplish that goal. :) Just wanted to clarify so that it didn't sound like I was in favor of shock jocks and that sort of thing. Because, in my case at least, people who try to anger me into considering a different opinion merely succeed in angering me. Their point in doing so is lost to me.

I'm certainly not referring to you (or anyone else) as someone who gets on other people's nerves, or as the shock jock sort of person I'm talking about.

I'm just clarifying my stance on a position.

 

Re: thanks

Posted by Dr. Bob on March 19, 2004, at 13:15:48

In reply to Re: Questions about transference, posted by Dinah on March 19, 2004, at 11:19:41

> in my case at least, people who try to anger me into considering a different opinion merely succeed in angering me.

I just want to thank everyone for keeping this thread civil despite any angry feelings...

Bob

 

Re: Questions about transference

Posted by Tancred62 on March 19, 2004, at 14:09:38

In reply to Re: Questions about transference, posted by Dinah on March 19, 2004, at 11:19:41

Dinah. I was indeed referring to your NASA analogy, but probably should have chosen better words than "getting on one's nerves." I'll be more careful next time. I know what you meant, and I too don't want to be a "shock jock." I only want to express some concerns I have regarding the emotional closeness, and for some, distance, between therapist and patient. I've learned more about transference on this one string than I have in a lifetime.

Whatever we do, let's all try to have a good weekend. And remember, the vernal equinox is tomorrow. Happy Spring, everyone.

 

Re: Questions about transference Tancred62

Posted by DaisyM on March 19, 2004, at 14:51:42

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

>>> 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?

<<<Maybe the issue is with your definition of the word "intimate." It sounds to me like your are thinking of intimate as being sexually loaded or stimulating somehow. Which can happen and as this thread shows, does. But I think many of us have developed "intimate" relationships with our Therapist without sexual overtones.

I am a woman in my 40s with a male Therapist who is slightly older than I am. (I've been in therapy for 10months.) I do not have romantic feelings for him. He describes our relationship as "intense" and he has encouraged an attachment because trusting is one of my key issues. As I have grown attached to him, I've been able to share more with him. I feel completely safe, and I do not worry that the male/female dynamic will change or endanger the work we are doing.

Maybe we've found that medium, but I think I have to give credit to my Therapist's professionalism and his experience. Everytime I want to run away from "our" relationship, he insists on holding it up to the light, talking about what is happening between us and clarifying what he is feeling and what it means for my therapy. I think he genuinely cares and I think he likes being a Therapist, which comes through in how he treats his clients. I think he uses intimacy as a healing tool by converting it to trust, which is the only way to get some of these issues up and out. And I think he offers support in which ever way is needed during that session, or the time in-between.

Therapy is one of the hardest things I've ever put myself through. If I didn't have the Therapist I do, or one who uses his approach, I can tell you I would not still be in it. I wish everyone's first experience was the same as mine.


 

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....

[WARNING: FUN WITH VENTING FOLLOWS, NON-CYNICS AND THOSE WITH GOOD "Ts" STOP HERE]

.....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?
>

 

Re: I COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE MORE EMBARRASSED Dr. Bob

Posted by spoc on March 19, 2004, at 15:14:41

In reply to Re: thanks, posted by Dr. Bob on March 19, 2004, at 13:15:48

Dr. Bob, I apologize again to you and all for my sarcasm. With enough disclaimers I hoped it might make some people laugh. But if only I had checked the thread again and saw your post before I clicked to submit it, I would probably have changed my mind. I don't know where the fine is in this stuff yet. This is not at all the demeanor I exhibit in therapy and overall I do look at all sides of most things and emerge unbiased, or so I really believe. I hope I have tempered all my commentaries with enough caveats that this was only one experience with one analyst, rather than a generalization about all therapists or certain types of them; or about the chances for success with any of them. :- (

> > in my case at least, people who try to anger me into considering a different opinion merely succeed in angering me.
>
> I just want to thank everyone for keeping this thread civil despite any angry feelings...
>
> Bob

 

Re: I can't see any reason you should be :) spoc

Posted by Dinah on March 19, 2004, at 15:52:13

In reply to Re: I COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE MORE EMBARRASSED Dr. Bob, posted by spoc on March 19, 2004, at 15:14:41

I think Dr. Bob was saying he knew it was a volatile issue, and he appreciated that we were keeping the civility rules in mind.

I'm just hoping he didn't take my post to mean that I was angry about this discussion, because I'm not. I was just clarifying my own position on provoking thought. :)

 

Re: thanks Dr. Bob

Posted by Pfinstegg on March 19, 2004, at 17:25:43

In reply to Re: thanks, posted by Dr. Bob on March 19, 2004, at 13:15:48

You're welcome! To me. this thread is a good example of a good thread! Various people, including me, got to express their true feelings, which in turn encouraged other people to express what they were really feeling. And there were strong differences of experience, opinion and feeling. If we don't have that spontaneity and realness, it can get really boring here.

It's been my experience here over the past year that, almost without exception, people do not hurt one another on these boards. They educate, trust and support one another, and self-correct if they do go over the line briefly and hurt someone. The person who has done that may need to hear reactions from others to know they have done so, but then they seem to just naturally try to understand the other person's point of view, and will often apologize. I think you can count on people with disorders of "affect regulation", which all of us here have in one form or another, to be very empathic and sensitive in this regard.

 

Re: I can't see any reason you should be :) Dinah

Posted by spoc on March 19, 2004, at 18:50:12

In reply to Re: I can't see any reason you should be :) spoc, posted by Dinah on March 19, 2004, at 15:52:13

> I think Dr. Bob was saying he knew it was a volatile issue, and he appreciated that we were keeping the civility rules in mind....>

(I noticed that the post I was worried about may not be visible from the main thread...sometimes!? It's there in one browser, but is kind of hidden in another...)

But anyway, you're surely right that Dr. Bob meant "Thanks for being civil to each other," not "Thanks in advance for keeping it vanilla at all times." Hey, does this mean that I just had some TRANSFERENCE with Dr. Bob? Maybe when I read his post he felt representative to me of the kind, normal folk I'm afraid I've let down and disappointed! So then it's an overactive guilt response! Thanks Dr. Bob, send me your bill! :-)

 

Re: Join the club. spoc

Posted by Dinah on March 19, 2004, at 19:01:55

In reply to Re: I can't see any reason you should be :) Dinah, posted by spoc on March 19, 2004, at 18:50:12

A fair number of us have experienced transference with Dr. Bob - the ultimate blank slate.

I generally see him as a funny, clever, occasionally noncomprehending and often incomprehensible, but overall benevolent authority figure who really does care about us, although he may not be really skillful at showing it.

I wonder if that says more about him or about me?

(I think my therapist thinks "me")

Oooh. Dr. Bob as the Psychobabble Rorschach test?

 

Re: saying what you are feeling.. spoc

Posted by Fallen4myT on March 19, 2004, at 19:08:43

In reply to Re: saying what you are feeling.. Fallen4myT, posted by spoc on March 19, 2004, at 8:11:39

Thank you Spoc that was very nice of you to say and lol in person you would be shocked at how much I can and DO say..I tend to digress a lot :) A happy medium would be nice :) Anyhow I think you're very nice and again thanks

 

Re: Questions about transference Tancred62

Posted by Fallen4myT on March 19, 2004, at 19:11:35

In reply to Re: Questions about transference, posted by Tancred62 on March 19, 2004, at 14:09:38

Tancred62, Spring is good :) I can whip the new spring garb out :) lol...Happy Spring to you too and thanks!

> Dinah. I was indeed referring to your NASA analogy, but probably should have chosen better words than "getting on one's nerves." I'll be more careful next time. I know what you meant, and I too don't want to be a "shock jock." I only want to express some concerns I have regarding the emotional closeness, and for some, distance, between therapist and patient. I've learned more about transference on this one string than I have in a lifetime.
>
> Whatever we do, let's all try to have a good weekend. And remember, the vernal equinox is tomorrow. Happy Spring, everyone.
>

 

Re: saying what you are feeling.. Pfinstegg

Posted by Fallen4myT on March 19, 2004, at 19:13:33

In reply to Re: saying what you are feeling.. spoc, posted by Pfinstegg on March 18, 2004, at 16:01:11

P, you my friend are most wise and well dressed :P


> I do go to a psychoanalyst- but a contemporary "relational" one. We explore all the feelings which come up between us- and understanding and working with them is the most important thing we do. The contemporary thinking is that out pre-conscious and unconscious feelings are laid down in early life in our right hemispheres by the relationships we had then. So- here's where the "relational" part comes in - the patient and therapist need to allow their right hemispheres to interact. In this way, we find out how we truly felt as children, but we have an opportunity to allow that part of the brain to develop new and healthier ways of interacting with other people. Recent research has actually shown that people with abuse and/or neglect in their childhoolds have smaller right hemispheres, with many fewer neurons connecting to the fear centers in the limbic system- they are much less able to use their right cortexes to calm down their tendencies to react to small stressors with extreme fear, rage, dissociation or hopelessness. But, this research has also shown that vital parts of the right frontal cortex are "plastic:- capable of growing throughout life. Modern therapists utilize this knowledge to help patients grow through the relationships they develop with their therapists. The relationship aspect has become so central that the word "transference" really doesn't begin to describe the new thinking about this.The clothes thing with Fallen was just plain fun, and had to do with doing things in a new, happier way. But we are also dealing with immensely painful things and trying to do our best to grow beyond them. For one person, having intensely loving and erotic feelings may be central to their growth. For another, something else might be more important- such as developing basic trust in another human being. For a lot of us, all these things are included at different times. You can be sure we are not wasting our time on frivolities! Like you, and everyone else, we want to live the fullest, richest lives we can.
>
> As to the gender of a therapist, I';d say - choose the one you think would mean the most to you. Women (sadly the majority on Psychobabble) have had very meaningful and successful experiences with both sexes, and men are surely the same.

 

Re: no, thank YOU! : ) (nm) Fallen4myT

Posted by spoc on March 19, 2004, at 19:33:24

In reply to Re: saying what you are feeling.. spoc, posted by Fallen4myT on March 19, 2004, at 19:08:43

 

Re: Join the club. Dinah

Posted by spoc on March 19, 2004, at 19:59:15

In reply to Re: Join the club. spoc, posted by Dinah on March 19, 2004, at 19:01:55

> A fair number of us have experienced transference with Dr. Bob - the ultimate blank slate. > > I generally see him as a funny, clever, occasionally noncomprehending and often incomprehensible, but overall benevolent authority figure who really does care about us, although he may not be really skillful at showing it.> I wonder if that says more about him or about me? >

I haven't been reading here long enough to encounter clues beyond the "civil/not civil" calls. But wow! After reading your hunches and comparing them to mine, which are based on no knowledge of him beyond the establishment of this board, I see that I really MUST idealize certain *types* of people (I KNOW I don't idealize in general by any means). I was sitting here assuming he had all the answers and could read between the lines of every misplaced punctuation mark on the entire board with one brain hemisphere tied behind his back. And that y'all have surely helped him achieve that level of comprehension of course!!!

So, the ultimate blank slate, at least here. You're right! And I won't even take it personally coming from a website, which couldn't crack a smile if it wanted to! Even if I was wearing a pink camisole!! : )

 

Re: Join the club. spoc

Posted by Fallen4myT on March 19, 2004, at 20:03:10

In reply to Re: Join the club. Dinah, posted by spoc on March 19, 2004, at 19:59:15

MEGA LOLING SPOC too cute and well worded..Good sense of humor I like it and you.

>> I was sitting here assuming he had all the answers and could read between the lines of every misplaced punctuation mark on the entire board with one brain hemisphere tied behind his back. And that y'all have surely helped him achieve that level of comprehension of course!!! >>>

 

Re: saying what you are feeling.. Fallen4myT

Posted by Pfinstegg on March 19, 2004, at 20:31:28

In reply to Re: saying what you are feeling.. Pfinstegg, posted by Fallen4myT on March 19, 2004, at 19:13:33

Awww...thank you, F. It's a pleasure to receive such a nice compliment from such a well-dressed (read sexy, in the best sense) and big-hearted fellow therapee. Happy Spring Equinox to you also! P


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