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Transference

Question:

Hi Dr. Schwartz. I´m having a transference to my psychotherapist. I described the situation to him, and he has just listened to me. He made no comment on it at all. He didn´t give me any explanations of what to do next, or make me see that this is normal and how to pursue it, oppose it, or some signs from his side on telling me that he could be having counter-transference to me as well. What I am supposed to do? What is he, as the psychotherapist, expected to do?

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Answer:

I have no explanation for why your therapist has not responded to your transference comments. I would expect most therapists to make some type of comment but I have no idea of why he has not and, therefore, cannot comment on whether he is right or wrong.

You see, a lot depends on the type of psychotherapist he is and what type of training he has. If he is doing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy he may believe there is no reason to respond. I do not even know if he is a psychologist, social worker or psychiatrist. It is possible that he is outside of the main fields of practice.

Normally, I would expect that your job would be to continue to discuss your transference reactions to him. Eventually, it would be important to explore times in your past when you felt the same way, with whom and what happened and if the therapist reminds you of that person or persons from the past. At least, that is what is done in psychodynamic and psychoanalytic therapy. Normally, he would not discuss his counter transference reactions but would use them to help you. Of course, the patient is always free to ask but the therapist would not answer.

Please understand that all relationships, in and out of psychotherapy, are transferential in nature. However, within the limits of therapy, the transference feelings can be discussed but are never, ever acted upon.

All I can say is that if you feel that you are being helped then, stay with this therapist. However, if you feel that you are not being helped and his refusal to discuss transference is getting in your way, then find another therapist and make certain that the new therapist is properly licensed, credentialed and trained.

Best of Luck

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Comments
  • Dawn Pugh

    Hi,

    I read your question regarding transference and wanted to add:

    Firstly it would help if we knew what kind of transference you are experiencing.

    Secondly this question would probably be better answered by your therapist. Challenge them, because after all that time is yours and they are there to help by offering open and honest communication. Congruence which is the ability to be real seems to be missing.

    I do not think either of you are saying it as it really is. Maybe you do not trust the therapeutic relationship or maybe your therapist is not confident enough to deal with your transference issues.

    Thank you.

    Regrards

    Dawn Pugh

    http://www.dawnpugh.com

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