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- What is Countertransference?
- Transference vs. Countertransference: What’s the big deal? - Therapist Development Center Blog
To define transference, start by thinking about the word transfer. When you transfer something, you move it from one place to another. The transference definition in psychology is when a client redirects their feelings from a significant other or person in their life to the clinician. Think of it as the client projecting their feelings onto you as they would another person in their life. In most cases, the client experiences unconscious transference and is unaware that they are doing it.
Transference in therapy is normal. Expect to experience transference in counseling and discuss any concerns you have with your supervisor. Transference has benefits in the counseling session. The client can relax and be real during the session allowing themselves to experience growth. As a clinician, you can utilize the transference as a tool to help the client gain insight into their strength to handle situations outside of the session.
You can help your client to see their reality of the event they are dealing with. If you become activated during transference and react negatively or defensively, it can stop the growth process. A skilled therapist can recognize these feelings, and may even bring them up in session. The therapist may be able to use his or her feelings toward the client to understand how other people in the client's life feel about that client as well.
When used properly, it can be a valuable tool to look into the insight of those in a client's life, but when unrecognized, it can pose a threat to both the therapeutic relationship and goals of therapy set up by the client and counselor. Once countertransference is recognized, it is important that the therapist acknowledge and work through those feelings.
This can take on many shapes, some more problematic than others. A counselor enamored by a client's appearance may avoid challenging that client, due to his or how own desire to be admired and liked by the client. I never planned to feel this way, but he was so compassionate and stood up for me when I was hurting and when I was mistreated. Whoever his lover is , is very fortunate indeed.
I have feelings for him and I enjoy dreaming about him. I love dreaming about him because I cannot have him now in any other way and it feels so damned unfair that he is gone and lives in another state. And of all times to happen is 2 weeks before Christmas of I was a mess for months.
And still am in some ways.
Call him at his new clinic yeah i know you looked him up online already and tell him how you feel. Say you needed him to know, for closure, or whatever. I have a feeling he had some idea, maybe he was even attracted to you back. But the smart guy that he is, he liked his job too much to act upon it. On the other hand if he sensed your attraction he should have made some opening to allow it to come up in a session instead of letting you go on all this time thinking what you have with this person is real.
Trust me if it was, he would have quit his job , left his spouse and you two would be running off to the alter, or he would have had a shady inappropriate sexual relationship with you and left you seriously damaged and he , risking his job. Maybe he liked you back but likes his job and current relationship more, But let's just assume he didn't catch on, either way the outcome will be the same so you tell him, he's going to gently explain how transference works like this article basically did, and you will have to work it out with your new therapist I now have a rule that I cannot be attracted to my therapists because I think it's a huge waste of time and you will likely go through a period of heartbreak.
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Mine was awful. I was completely broken up. He made me feel wanted and desirable but not enough to disturb his life over it. I felt like for once I fit in, only to be rejected and once again feel " not good enough" but I got over it. Then the feelings went away and now I wonder what spell I was under, and now it all makes sense. I no longer feel the attraction or longing or whatever because I had enough time and space to step away and see him for what he is. I can see he was on the clock, I was damaged I speak for myself not everyone in therapy and it's not where you go looking for a future spouse, I or a one night stand.
It's dangerous in so many ways. After you make that call and talk through it and feel those feelings just be grateful he moved, there are SO MANY wonderful people out there you miss while yearning for something you can't have that might have been why you felt so strongly about him from the beginning, that sense of forbidden fruit! I remember him actually suggesting I go, I wish I listened to him then , and to that little voice inside my head telling me here is proof he didn't care, not like THAT We are so good at ignoring the obvious when it is convenient to our fantasy.
You will likely get mad just reading this. It's a little tough love. But it's much needed. I only wish I could have told you this 13 years ago. Let yourself confront it, feel it, then heal. And don't just transfer the infatuation to the new therapist. I had an ugly breakup with my shrink back in June. At the time I was suicidal, pre menopausal, had insomnia etc. Anyway I got a little bitchy during my appointment and said that he had been a dick to me at a previous appointment. He yelled at me saying I was being verbally abusive blah blah blah.
With the benefit of time and no meds I now realize why my reaction was so intense. He was a substitute for a former dear friend who was my shoulder to cry on. I didn't know what transference was until recently but that fits the definition to a t. I have been in love with my therapist for years THere isn't anything we can't or haven't discussed! I just said that I was experiencing feelings of desire for physical closeness with him in a child-like way that was distressing to me.
Can there be any therapeutic benefit to this reaction from a therapist to a disclosure of attraction by a client? I want to believe that he really wants to help me- I feel very positively towards him despite this bizarre exchange. What should I do? Many, many therapists do not accept a psychoanalytic model. They would not subscribe to the concept of transference. Not a therapist, but that's odd.
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I would bring up to him the oddness and see what he does with that. If it's: 1 Another odd exchange 2 Doesn't take away the oddness of the first one and make it FEEL like no big deal 3 If he attempts to make it feel okay by justifying, denying, or anything that isn't Feeling positively towards a therapist doesn't make for good therapy.
Good therapy makes for good therapy. Depending on what you are working on "enjoying a mutual attraction" is an injection into your world, and a boundary violation. Unless your work is on something so completely unrelated that relationships aren't part of it. And that's not many things.
I had a very bad therapist experience. I've had good too. It's amazing how "decent" the most manipulative can sound.
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So listen to your gut and do worry, if it's worried. I have heard it is normal, but when I ended up in the situation, it went beyond just enjoying it. The flirting distracted us from dealing with my issues, we got sexual, but of course it's a huge no no so not only did it go nowhere I got hurt and lost respect for him.
I also found out I was not the only one. I'm afraid to bring up my transference with my therapist because I'm sensing that he too is experiencing attraction toward me there have been signs but maybe I'm reading too much into them and I seriously don't know what I would do if he told me how he feels!
Sex in the Forbidden Zone by Peter Rutter is excellent resource We discussed it many times; and my feelings haven't changed in 7 years went to see him for a business dispute and fell in love with him. I have learned to live loving someone who isn't available. Not the best, but it is We don't always meet someone under ideal circumstances, and I certainly didn't go to see him, hoping I would ave to deal with the loving feelings.
I'm just curious, and if you don't mind me asking, was your therapist big on self disclosure and if so, do you think it "contributed" for lack of a better term to you falling in love with him? He sexualized our relatiionship I fell in love with him because of who I perceived him to be and would have if I had met him anywhere else.
If I gave you the green light would you go for it. Who wouldn't fall in love with you?! How is it every week, you take me on a journey where I should not go?! I take him dinner every week Not sure. He sits next to me on the couch You are SO fortunate to have that with him. I WISH my former psychiatrist felt that strong. The dream that I had with him is so important that it frightened me and I disclosed this truth to my spouse because I do not want to keep anything from him.
I met my former psychiatrist before I met my husband. The things that he said in this dream felt so real and I tried to play it off and ignore him in the dream, but he grabs me in the elevator and he disclosed things to me that I should not have known that I really do know about him and I will respect him by not bringing this up, even anonymously, but there are things that I have found out about him and he told me in the dream and said that " I would always have his mind and his heart and it felt so wonderful because it felt so damned real and it wasn't a fantasy appearing dream because I was dressed the way I was when I last spoke to him.
It was interesting that I tried to ignored him but then he took hold of me and held me so close and that was all that I needed were his deep words of intensity and that he held me so close, like I could feel his breath against my face. It is really something. I wish that I was what he wanted. Even if I could share him, but this is just impossible.
I am not ugly, but, I think in real life that he thought I was cute, and if it all were different, I think that I I met him when he were in school, I would have surrendered in a heart beat. I really would. No other could do this for me. To me, he was the perfect man and I would have done whatever he wanted and it would have pleased me just fine.
I would have still been the person that I would like to be, but I would have been the lover that he wanted whatever way he wanted me to be if we met WAY before. This is more than some stupid crush. I thought about him when I was in another state, I always think about him. That's the definition of violating the sexual code of ethics for a therapist. The code exists for good reasons. He's in an authority position by definition.
You are not in an equal relationship where you have ability to consent. Everything he is doing is grooming you for more direct abuse. It will be hard at first -- but find someone else to work with Hi Ryan, Thanks for this article as I think it's a topic a lot of clients struggle with and there's not a lot out there from the client's point of view.
Honestly, my article on Erotic Transference has more hits than any of my other posts. If anyone is interested, they can click on my link. I do want to ask permission to do this on your blog, if you have any problem with it, please feel free to delete my comment I'm not completely sure what the etiquette is in this situation : I really appreciate your open, honest approach to talking about the process. Not only am I keeping your comment here, AG, I'm posting a link directly to your erotic transference post:.
I am a little lost. I was having a problem with transference and everything I read indicated to bring it up in therapy. I finally got the courage to bring it up to my therapist, who said he agree with what was in the online forums. After I told him that is was "romantic" transferrence, he said we needed to terminate therapy and he gave me references for 3 females therapists. I am at a loss, I brought it up and ended losing my therapist.
I am afraid to go to another therapist and disclose anything personal. What do I do? If you'd brought it up and after a period of sessions on it, you and he came to the conclusion that you'd be better off with a female, or he was too reactive to this to help you However, leaving you feeling like you're hanging? That's not therapy. That's a person with their own issues, and it effecting you.
What is Countertransference?
Find another therapist and tell them about this. Have them help you process what this person should have helped you process. Then tell them something person and see if you can trust them. Then start to discover better therapy. At least for him, he knew he could not handle the situation and made a referral. From all the damaged therapeutic clients in here including myself I think more should be doing the same. Especially if the perceive or you have said you have relationship issues, how will you work on that while worrying about your lipstick or fantasizing about him naked.
Maybe he doesn't want to risk a lawsuit, or maybe he knows he has not the self control. I wish I had that instead of being used by my therapist as a sex toy. I'm familiar with definition of transference but not sure if that is what I'm going through. I think I'm simply humanly attracted to my therapist. I've tried to figure out what kind of past experience might cause these feelings, and was not able to pinpoint anything. My therapist and I are about the same age. He is good looking and obviously kind and warm mannered.
I'm married and I truly love my husband. Strangely enough, my "attraction" does not interfere with my relationship with my husband I'm not comfortable with my feelings toward my therapist because I do not want him to feel uncomfortable. He has never done anything wrong during therapy. He is exceptionally professional. In addition to attraction, I have great respect for him. I would never do anything to jeopardize his work.
Now is the hard part. During the last session or two , he started challenging me with questions about my present feelings and how I feel in therapy. I know he "feels" me I do not know how I did not run for the door during the last session I'm so frightened that the next time he will ask a straightforward question if I was attracted to him.
I know I'm not intended to lie. I feel so stupid and ashamed. I brought up my feelings as client transference to my therapist. I knew my feelings came up due to problems in my marriage which I discussed immediately prior to the client transference. I think there may be counter transference on his part.
Is it okay for me to ask him or is it really worth knowing?
I think there were a couple of minor flirtations that could have been unintentional or maybe just a misunderstanding on my part. In any case, they started my client transference. Without those incidences, I might not have begun to develop these feelings for my therapist. Maybe I need to talk about those specific incidences with him to clear up any misunderstandings rather than whether or not he is experiencing counter transference with me.
Transference vs. Countertransference: What’s the big deal? - Therapist Development Center Blog
What do you think? The more I think about this, the more I come to conclusion that clarity would help still does not help me feeling "at ease" when I think about telling my therapist about my feelings Anyway, it would help to know what your therapist feeling towards you for me it would. We, as human beings, have good intuition, but even greater imagination. You might imagine more than you should; and then will work with results of your imagination, not reality If the feelings are mutual you both might find yourself being able to accept and allow them and even enjoy them within defined boundaries, if not - it worth to explore what sets you up It's only my opinion.
I hope it helps. How did you start conversation about your transference issue with your therapist? What was his reaction? I kind of know I have to do it but absolutely petrified ….
I brought up the subject as "I'm experiencing client- therapist transference". At first my therapist seemed to handle it like it was no big deal. He said he had experienced it with 2 other clients. One client left and one stayed. He's been seeing her for 15 years. I chose to leave. The next week when I saw my therapist again, he acted very uncomfortable with me so that I wished I had never mentioned anything. Since I was infatuated with him, I felt deeply hurt that he withdrew from me so abruptly. I expected him to act the way Dr. Howes said most therapists react.
I was afraid I was going to lose him as a therapist so I told him I had the transference figured out so he could relax. In retrospect, this is when i should've gotten another therapist. I took care of his feelings so he could feel comfortable enough to continue to be my therapist.
For a while things were good again except that I was no longer working on my issues. He had even looked at me with lovey dovey eyes which made me feel safe to have feelings for him. Then a few weeks ago I told him I was still infatuated with him and that my feelings had gotten stronger. I told him he should have helped me work on those feelings months ago when I first brought them up. He told me we could work on them now but I said it was too late. The next thing I knew I was telling him that he couldn't be my therapist anymore. This isn't how I wanted things to end.
Why didn't you want them to end that way?