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TRANSFERENCE - How dependable ..

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Transference - ' The process by which emotions and desires originally associated with one person, such as a parent or sibling, are unconsciously shifted to another person '

Probably if I'd read that definition several years ago, I would have had a strong, negative reaction. Transference isn't always about transferred feelings for another, I don't think. It's more complex and deeper than just that. I believe it is also about the person responding and their patterns of response within relationships. Interactions remind us of our past interactions and we then repeat behaviors and feelings. It's symbolic. I think it happens in all relationships, but is intensified in therapy due to the nature of the relationship. I experienced transference in therapy, but what I felt for my therapist had little to do with what I'd felt for anyone else, and had everything to do with how I want to love. I think, unconsciously, I'd found a safe space to explore such feelings. I also think it was something that I needed in order to heal. I needed to believe in loving again.

Notwithstanding the significant role this plays in therapy ' date=' what would be the inherent dangers involved in Transference ?[/quote']

It could be dangerous if the therapist was untrained in how to manage it or if the therapist was unethical.

Isn't it possible that the emotional needs of a therapist feed on

the already vulnerable client ?

It's possible, but an experienced therapist would ideally be aware of their own feelings, have good boundaries, and know how to manage this to best help the client. Part of what makes therapy beneficial is the real relationship between therapist and client. So there is a lot to learn in the interactions too.

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How would you reconcile this with the ' unknown ' factor in life ?

I would reconcile this by saying that life is a learning experience. Unknown factors can teach us a great deal if we are open to learning and growing as human beings. A good therapist recognizes his/her own humanity, vulnerabilities and flaws and is mindful of this. He/she doesn't deny his/herself within the therapeutic relationship and may in fact also learn from the experience.

Would you agree that ' boundaries ' keep evolving with new

experiences and discoveries ' date=' and may sometimes befuddle even

a mature therapist .[/quote']

This is the beauty of life, don't you think? It's evolving and changing and we must always adapt and learn anew. This is true of professionals too. A befuddled therapist doesn't have to be a negative thing for a client. Part of the beauty in the relationship is the human factor in it. We relate with other flawed human beings in life, so this can offer us (as clients) a place to learn and grow within a genuine relationship. The key for a therapist would be self-awareness and recognition of his/her humanity, keeping the therapy safe and about the client. A self-aware therapist can talk about such befuddlement with a supervisor and use this new self-knowledge to further benefit the client. If at any such time a therapist feels they can't keep a client safe due to their own emotional response, then the time has come to refer the client.

Edited by IrmaJean
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