What is Transference ?

Transference is a situation in which the feelings a person had about one thing, are subconsciously redirected or transferred to another. It could concern feelings from childhood to someone in the present day. Transference occurs when a person redirects some of their feelings or desires for another person to an entirely different person, for example if you observe characteristics of your father in a new boss and then attribute fatherly feelings to this new boss. They can be positive or negative feelings.

It can also happen when you first meet someone, you could instantly like or dislike someone based on something or someone in your past.

Something we have to be aware of is that transference can happen in our clinical sessions. Transference in therapy happens when a patient attaches anger, hostility, love, adoration, or a host of other possible feelings onto their therapist. Freud was aware of Transference and would use this as part of the therapy process.

Countertransference occurs when a therapist redirects their own feelings or desires onto their patients. This may be a reaction to the patient’s transference. It can also happen independently of any behaviours from the patient.

We are guided by strict professional ethical and moral codes, which work to maintain clear lines of professional behaviour between therapist and client, a therapist can’t be a friend outside of the therapy, we need to maintain a professional distance.

A good working relationship is vital in our chosen profession, we need clients to like us and that is all we need.

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