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New York: Basic Books. Heimann, P. On countertransference. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis , 31, Kavaler-Adler, S. Supervisor as internal object. Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy , 8 1 , Kernberg, O. Borderline conditions and pathological narcissism.
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New York: Aronson. Internal world and external reality. Klein, M. Mourning and its relation to manic-depressive states. Love, guilt and reparation and other works London, UK: Hogarth Press, Notes on some schizoid mechanisms. Envy and Gratitude. Ogden, T. The matrix of the mind. Racker, H. The meaning and uses of countertransference. Psychoanalytic Quarterly , 26, So, in order to be loved and accepted by me, she must be a perfect and well-behaved client. What this example highlights is that transferences are often most transparent around the boundaries though they are present throughout the therapeutic field.
From a psychosynthesis perspective, the early object relational transference field can give the therapist vital clues as to where the primal wound of empathic failure occurred for the child. Countertransference All the discussions of transference so far have included the therapist as the object of the projection or transference. However, as we shall see, this has proved to be limiting. Later psychoanalysts such as Gill and Kohut1 have gone on to develop theories that place the interaction between therapist and client at the heart of the change dynamic clients are seeking.
The therapeutic relationship Having established that both client and therapist occupy a joint field of experience, awareness and contact, it becomes important to understand the processes that occur within that. As we have seen, the earliest and most straightforward interpretations of transference are those that utilise the early object relational models of the field. The therapist is said to stand in for early parental figures. If you had a cold mother, for example, a warm and loving stance from your therapist would meet that need and heal the wound.
Types of transference Stern6 distinguishes between two types of transference: type 1 and type 2.
Countertransference and Attitudes in the Context of Clinical Work with Dually Diagnosed Patients
The role of the therapist here is one in which she transcends the pathological re-enactment through withholding gratification in order to establish more authentic contact. Stern sees that part of the role of the therapist is to master the type 1 transferences that are pressurising the therapist to behave in the ways of the repeated relationship.
Type 2 transferences call on the therapist to see herself as embedded within the interpersonal matrix with her client. This is similar to other relational views of transference that Gill, Kohut and to some extent Rogers also talk of: that the therapist is not a distant, neutral object but an embedded participant in the therapeutic process. As participants, therapists then have a responsibility to foster authentic, empathic and honest contact with their clients.
This requires therapists to hold a non-defensive stance, honestly examining their countertransference, and sharing appropriately and empathically with their clients. Empathy is at the heart of all these approaches to understanding and utilising transference responses in service of the psyche.
All the writers on the subject are agreed that these empathic breaks are golden opportunities. If the therapist can hold herself openly, honestly and non-defensively in exploring these with her client, they can offer immense potential for empathic connection and mirroring. Projective identification Some transferences are so powerful that they unconsciously hijack the therapist and cast her into either playing out a role in a repeated drama or taking on feelings that unconsciously the client cannot manage.
For example, a longstanding client came to therapy a week after being bereaved. I became more forceful and insistent in my interventions, culminating in some very direct statements in which I lost all memory of her recent loss. In this exchange, the part of her that could not manage the loss was being trampled on — the projective identification I had become caught in. I immediately apologised for the hurt my interventions had caused. I then wondered aloud with her why I had behaved in this way. By engaging openly and honestly with the empathic break, we could then interpret how what had happened now, was related to what had gone before.
With the key difference that as her therapist I could articulate and be in relationship with what had occurred. The transference phenomena has embedded within it the early imprints of those experiences, as well as the defences the psyche erected to manage these developmental failures and deficits. However, a broader view of transference would not limit understanding and interpreting transference phenomena to a regressive replay of infantile relationships.
From Projective Identification to Empathy
This expands the transference dynamic to be more than a repeating of history. Jung too saw transference as a projection onto the analyst — projections that, as the analysis continues, are worked through and withdrawn. As analysis progresses, these projections move from infantile processes and content to becoming more impersonal. By this he was referring to the content of the projections moving from the personal dimension to the impersonal — the archetypal dimension.
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Once liberated from personal content, why might this force be seeking expression? For an answer Jung turned his attention to esoteric texts in which transformation occurs; the study of alchemy. In the Middle Ages alchemy was the process of liberating matter to achieve a transformation of states of existence. What is trapped, the confining structure, needs to be broken down, and this can be a very brutal dis-membering and dismantling.
What has been deconstructed is now free to interact with its opposites and take on new forms and structures. This process of alchemical union is seen as a metaphor for the transformation of the material and natural aspects of human nature. In the Psychology of Transference,7,9 Jung uses 10 images from an alchemical text known as the Rosary of the Philosophers to illustrate this psychological journey of transformation through the figures of the Lunar Queen and Solar King.
These archetypal processes are seen as metaphors for describing the processes that occur in therapeutic work. For the de-construction of what is known to the client, the chaos and grief that follows and the union or creation of new forms, new psychic capacities and structures within.
Lessons in Psychology: Freedom, Liberation, and Reaction: Demystifying Projective Identification
Post-Jungians such as Fordham7 have gone on to distinguish between two types of countertransference: the illusory and the syntonic. This can be attended to through supervision and personal therapy. The syntonic arises through the analyst being empathically attuned to the client and through that attunement potentially being able to experience aspects of the client before they have conscious awareness of them. Shawartz-Salant goes further to say that in the countertransference field both analyst and client are constellating the unconscious.
The way in which projective identification is used or related to by therapists holds implications for supervisory debates and practice. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here. This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared.