Transferential relationship memes

Therapists in consultation with one another may refer to transference as a general statement about the strength of the therapeutic relationship. The relationship of TFP with other psychoanalytic modalities of treatment et le souci de la prise de responsabilité du patient envers lui‐même. It is not only the client's trust in relation to the psychotherapist but also the remaining stuck within the transferential relationship (as opposed to moving through.

Though we cannot know things directly at least with regard to other peoplewe can group together things that seem to belong together so as to form a sort of knowledge cluster, or mental map, or as psychologists call it a "schema".

Once schemas have formed to organize knowledge about a thing inside someone's mind, those schemas are used as an aide in understanding and interpreting new information that concerns the things each schema is about. Think of schemas as a sort of reference book that sensory input can be compared against. The brain looks for a match between appearances out in the world the way someone looks, acts, etc. The brain does this because if a match can be found between something new and something old, then all of the stored knowledge inside the schema can be applied to the new situation without having to figure it all out again and again.

Let's make this all more concrete by giving an example. Suppose you get into a fight with someone you know who has a crew cut and you end up coming to blows. You learn about those blows from the evidence of your senses — you ache, you are bruised and you feel pain! You learn that this person is likely to be violent, and this knowledge about crew cut-guy's violence potential gets stored in a schema that represents and organizes your knowledge about this person.

A week goes by, and there you are minding your own business when you happen to glance up and see a crew cut.


Your immediate reaction is to get ready for a fight. This sense of urgency goes away quickly, however, when you realize that this new person is not the person you fought with but rather someone else. In this manner, knowledge taken from your senses is compared against your existing relationship schemas to aid you in quickly appreciating whether you are in danger or not. It's a good thing you have these relationship schemas to organize your knowledge and trigger an alarm, because otherwise you might have again walked into a punch!

People by definition form schemas about all manner of things they know something about, including themselves which you've heard of before, labeled as the 'self-concept'other people they know, and how they get along with those people they know. It is exactly these schemas concerning relationships that get transferred from one person onto another in the process of transference. You see that crew cut, and brace for a beating or get ready to give one.

It's a different person this time wearing that crew cut, but they were initially close enough in appearance for you to mistake one for the other and treat the new person as though he was the old person. It's not just crew cuts that can lead us to confuse one person for another, and it's not just violence that we can respond to. Transference is far more general than this simple example. It's transference, for example, when you see someone who reminds you of a former lover you no longer see and you get sad for a moment.

It's transference when you fall in love at first sight, because something about that person leads you to believe they are your soul mate. It's transference when the porn star dresses up as a French maid, or wears pigtails to suggest youth and innocence. It's transference when you assume that a doctor is competent because she wears a white coat and carries a stethoscope, when the banker's pin-striped suit leads you to infer wealth and stability, and when the neighbors appear to be richer than they really are because they have a leased BMW.

It's a form of transference when a woman who was abused by her father, goes and gets involved romantically with a partner who also abuses her. It's also transference when a confidence man or woman leads you to trust him or her and then steals your money, or when a politician leads you to believe that he or she will act one way, causing you to vote for him or her, and then proceeds to act another way you didn't expect.

We respond to characteristics that aren't really there, and what is more remarkable is we don't tend to notice that we've done it; we do it automatically and without thinking.

The illusion is so seamless it appears to have been out there in the world such that anyone else looking would see the same thing. That's not the case, however.

Transference is really an interpretation and an illusion that is generated inside the brain as the brain tries to organize the world. As was the case with the triangle illusion, we try to make sense out of the things we are confronted with by matching their appearance to things we've known before.

We organize things we see so that they fit the things we already know and we fill in the blanks that aren't there with the rest of the pattern we know from our schemas. We can set ourselves up for problems when we do this, for instance by extending trust or intimacy sexual or otherwise to people who haven't earned it.

In this way, we end up harming ourselves some of the time by failing to appreciate dangers that are really present. The positive flip side of this equation is that we can also learn to benefit from transference by learning to accurately recognize novel situations as dangerous because they remind us of past dangers.

Transference As A Therapy Tool Though transference happens automatically and unconsciously, it is possible to learn to become aware of transference Becoming aware of one's transferences is a good thing, because it can help you to become a more conscious and proactive person, more in command of your own destiny, rather than a passive, reactive person.

Transference - Wikipedia

Proactive aware people are better able than passive reactive people to influence their lives for the better, and to learn from mistakes so as to not repeat them again and again. They tend to have a better quality of life than passive reactive persons. There are many ways to become more aware of your own transferences. One way is to write journal or blog entries about what is happening in your life and then to read them over looking for patterns that you have that get you into trouble; areas where your judgment is repeatedly poor and you make the same mistakes over and over as chronicled some time ago in that bestseller book "Women who love too much".

Another way is to hire a therapist who can help you to become aware of what your transference are. The psychoanalytically oriented school of therapy was the first to identify how becoming aware of transference could serve as a tool for personal growth, and they are still the best trained professionals for helping to accomplish this goal.

If I ask you, "what does therapy look like" and you had never had therapy before, you are likely to describe something like this image: Neither patient or therapist look at each other. The patient drones on". This is the classical image of psychoanalysis — quite out of date of course, but still useful for illustration purposes. Did you ever wonder why the therapist and the patient aren't looking at each other?

The reason is that this "no eye contact" arrangement was thought by early therapists to best promote the patient forming a transference relationship with the therapist. The therapist minimizes eye contact, and says nothing about himself and his life outside the therapy room so as to become a blank slate or canvas or screen onto which the patient can project his or her transferences, and the therapist can view these transferences happening, figure out what they are, and help the patient to become aware of what they're doing.

In theory, the patient's behavior will change as he or she becomes more aware of what he or she is doing. In practice, such insight is often not enough to motivate real change in the patient's life.

What is Transference In Therapy? - Kati Morton

It is helpful, but something more is often needed to get the patient to actually behave differently then they have been. The map is not the territory, but some patients and some therapists can mistake the one for the other. What does this transference-encouraging look like in practice? I'll give you an example from my own life. While on internship early in my career, I had to participate in my own therapy as a client.

I had been reprimanded by a supervisor for being late to a meeting before this therapy process started and was feeling kinda paranoid about being judged unfairly.

Very shortly after I started in with my therapist, I found myself feeling that he was judging me too and found myself getting pissed at him. I'm sure he would have picked up on this in short order, but I beat him to it in this instance, telling him, "This therapy relationship is going to work out fine - I hate you already". I had the advantage of being educated about transference before the above exchange took place, so my ability to be self-aware about it shouldn't be taken as the norm.

My anger towards my therapist, however, was classic transference. Another typical scenario is for a patient to develop a crush on a therapist or to feel ownership of the therapist's time feeling jealous when the therapist is unavailableor to respond to the therapist as though the therapist was acting like a parent used to act judgmental, for example, or overly permissive, and getting upset or sensitive when opportunities for slights or limit setting occur.

The aware therapist recognizes over-reactions for transference generally a safe assumption, but not one to be just assumedand interprets these back to the patient, " I don't think you are a bad person — but you seem to think that is what I think of you. Am I perhaps reminding you of past relationships you've been in where you have felt similarly treated?

If you can recognize the patterns you are succeptable to falling into, you aren't as much at their mercy anymore. Counter-Transference It's not just patients who are vulnerable to transference Therapists routinely if grudgingly also form transferences with their patients. This is called counter-transference when this happens, to indicate that it is the therapist's rather than the patient's issue and responsibility. A typical counter-transference might occur when a therapist starts feeling angry with a patient who describes doing something that is similar to something that previously harmed or would harm the therapist or someone the therapist cares about.

When Freud initially encountered transference in his therapy with patients, he thought he was encountering patient resistance, as he recognized the phenomenon when a patient refused to participate in a session of free association.

But what he learned was that the analysis of the transference was actually the work that needed to be done: Since the transference between patient and therapist happens on an unconscious level, psychodynamic therapists who are largely concerned with a patient's unconscious material use the transference to reveal unresolved conflicts patients have with childhood figures. Countertransference [10] is defined as redirection of a therapist's feelings toward a patient, or more generally, as a therapist's emotional entanglement with a patient.

A therapist's attunement to their own countertransference is nearly as critical as understanding the transference. Not only does this help therapists regulate their emotions in the therapeutic relationshipbut it also gives therapists valuable insight into what patients are attempting to elicit in them. For example, a therapist who is sexually attracted to a patient must understand the countertransference aspect if any of the attraction, and look at how the patient might be eliciting this attraction.

Once any countertransference aspect has been identified, the therapist can ask the patient what his or her feelings are toward the therapist, and can explore how those feelings relate to unconscious motivations, desires, or fears. Another contrasting perspective on transference and countertransference is offered in classical Adlerian psychotherapy.

Rather than using the patient's transference strategically in therapy, the positive or negative transference is diplomatically pointed out and explained as an obstacle to cooperation and improvement.