14 thoughts on “Transference is Not Transferable

  • January 3, 2010 at 2:04 am

    Thanks for this view on the issue. I’ve never thought I was ‘in love’ with my therapist, but I was (and suspect always will be) extremely fond of him. I’d have been devastated at having to change therapist as I’ve never met anyone (before or since) who understands me as well – or indeed, as quickly.

    I wouldn’t want my therapist to be in love with me, either. It’s nice to be liked, but anything more than that would make me feel uncomfortable and distract (and detract!) from the work.

    I suspect I am lucky; I gather transference can be a major stumbling block at times. I mentioned to my therapist about my tendency to become attached to anyone showing me kindness and/or helping me, and we worked with it. No awkwardness or embarrassment. I am just grateful my feelings were not too extreme.

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  • January 3, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I had the unfortunate experience of having an affair with my therapist many years ago. It was awkward, and ultimately devastating. The issues that drove me to therapy in the first place not only did not get resolved, but this experience compounded the problems i had with trust and attachment. It took over 20 years for me to seek help again and almost 12 months of weekly therapy for me trust my current therapist enought to stop resisting. He’s wonderful, consistent, intelligent and has patiently worked through all this mess with me. I will be forever grateful to him for giving me back my life.

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  • January 4, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    I still love my therapist and have been out of therapy for more than a year. My feelings for him are very pure, sweet and feel unconditional in nature. Much of what I read about this is about all of the negative outcomes. My experience has been very different. I see these feelings as my best potential. Their presence…and the very fact that I allowed them with clear knowledge of the eventual outcome…has restored my faith in myself and my faith in love. I went through grief for months, but am not sorry for any of this. It’s the best of me. I will always be grateful to him for helping me learn to love myself.

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  • January 6, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Sonia… I will follow you anywhere. Thank you so MUCH.

    Does it strike you as odd that transference is both a cliche and a stigma at the same time? It happens to so many, yet so few know how to deal with it.

    An accessible guide for both clients and therapists would open conversations that would otherwise never happen. With proper exposure it’d be a best seller.

    I’ve searched for the information you share. You’re the only author I’ve ever found who validates my reality. Thank you for your words.

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  • January 6, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    There’s nothing bad about transference. I think it’s actually a reflection of the real issues you need to be working through in thereapy. And these issues are not necessarily the issues/symptoms that motivated your decision to go to therapy in the first place.

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  • January 6, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I finally found a therapist who did’t tell me my need for acceptance and approval is neurotic or pathological. Maybe there are people who do not need positive responses from others, but most of us appreciate positive responses from other people. I do have to admit one has to get to the point that helps them see they are lovable and valuable. I failed to provide proof to my therapist that I had little to offer others. The challenge then is to find that person (s) who like you just the way you are. I found a couple!

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  • January 10, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    My erotic transference is very hard for me to resolve. I didn’t see it coming when I first started a few years ago. He first said “it wasn’t about him” because I didn’t know him.

    Then, in time, he seemed flirtatious and it flared higher. Now, we just don’t talk about it much. It’s the elephant in the room for sure.

    I feel stuck and hurt. I realize nothing will come of this relationship so it’s not that I am delusional. I just haven’t resolved them yet enough to starting the termination process.

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  • January 13, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Having been in therapy for over a dozen years now I can safely say tha we have never been in love with a shrink or therapist. I have however been held captive with the need for one shrink to be my mother. Awkward maybe this is what transference is after all, we dunno. However once we realized this after years and years we decided to switch to a professionAl who specializes in trauma and dissociation. I do
    not need for her to be anything but what she is, which is startlingly healthy for us.

    T knows way too much about the way we roll to ever be a
    love object we suspect. We would have to protect her if we were in love with her. And she is far too valuable for that! Bum, maybe this is what you’re talking about????

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  • April 1, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    When I was completely suicidal in the military every psychiatrist/therapist thought I was doing it for attention except one. Who realized exactly what was wrong…..I had no friends…..no success in my job….and my life was full of terrible experiences. Over time I became very fond of him and looked to him almost as a father. There was definitely transference but I realized this at the time. But I’m glad I tried to keep this secret from him so he wouldn’t feel the need to make me change doctors. In fact i still remember a turning point in my therapy, where, at the beginning of the session he said “This weekend when I drove past(such and such) building, I was thinking about you and…” and I was suprised….”He thought of me? I didn’t think he cared!” And the next time I became suicidal(which was the last time)I obviously didn’t kill myself but i also didn’t need to check myself into a hospital. Because I told myself….”My therapist would be disappointed if I killed myself”. So I don’t know about people who are not suicidal, but I think that sometimes things like transference, if dealt with properly, and realized for what it is can help a person who is hopeless. Because to know that the therapist does “give a damn” about what happens, is enough to make someone want to change their life. I still think very fondly of my therapist and hope he is doing well. But transference certainly didn’t ruin my therapy, it just made me realize what I needed to add to my life.

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  • June 24, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    I’m only posting because I am full of emotions. I too have been bitten by the love bug in therapy… and although (right now), it is a disorienting and painful kind of love (I feel), I do not wish to unplug from it – just yet…
    I (instead) hope to understand it.

    I’ve been in therapy for about a year and my therapist is really nice. I just didn’t see it all of this time and have actually had negative transferences happening in the room.

    It was a really intense teenage kind of tension in the room when i first started, and I worked on seeing these things as unfinished business from my childhood. So we get to a quiet place where we can now laugh and I am (of course) working on – or am being worked on – other things.

    I realize how very much I love my therapist. Like a child loves its mother… and other times I have desires for her in a romantic and sensual way.

    I’m currently mulling over this because we have never talked about it – as I’ve been afraid… and now I think she is (for some reason) mad…

    I just wrote these things here as a form of therapy to get this out in hopes that we will talk about these things soon…
    sheesh…

    thank you for listening.

    Doing the work,
    Me

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  • September 26, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    I had a psychodynamic therapy where transference is used as a tool. I didn’t fall in love with my therapist although I greatly respected her. I think it is natural when you share your whole inner being with someone that you trust beyond normal limits to feel so close to them. This is the relationship you want with a partner. Perhaps the secret is to make sure your therapist is aware of your feelings and thus able to work with them.

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  • April 14, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    I just learned about transference as my feelings for my therapist become even more stronger than they were. I had no idea what was happening as I am younger and I never talked about transference with my therapist.

    I was wondering if anyone could take a look at this yahoo answers question I posted and maybe give me some advice on how to handle this.
    I feel embarressed to talk to my therapist about it. πŸ™

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  • September 15, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    I am 63 and have been in therapy a long time. My current therapist is very smart, attractive and open. She is 44.. I have developed what I would call a double transference. My feelings towards her reflect my feelings of wanting to be treated well by my mother. And romantic feelings I might have towards a girl friend. I am not sure she knows how to deal with my feelings. I was afraid, but today I took courage and told her what was going on, in a letter. I think we will talk about it tomorrow. The situation is complicated by the fact that she seems to not accept responsibility sometimes, and I believe she is deceptive and even lies often. It felt good to tell her about my feelings with pure honesty, but now what? How would a good therapist help me? Thank you.

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  • August 29, 2018 at 8:35 am

    An fascinating discussion is value comment. I believe that you need to write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo topic however generally people are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

    Reply
 

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