I find transference to be a fascinating thing, especially if I’m the one going through it. As I am right now.
Transference in the therapy relationship is essentially the act of assuming things about the therapist or the therapy relationship. Things you think you know about your therapist are cut from the cloth of your psyche. It may be informed by some past action, relationship or event. It is rarely factually about the person sitting across from you in the chair.
The knife cuts both ways. When it’s therapist to patient it’s COUNTER transference. As in, gee..that client reminds me of my other client, or my mother, or my gerbil Felix.
Lately I’ve been going through some transference of my own as I alluded to earlier. My therapist and I haven’t had a session in a few weeks due to holidays and his need for some personal time off. Now I find myself dreading going back in. Should I have spontaneously gotten better? Does the fact that I haven’t had a crisis in three weeks mean I don’t need him anymore? Will he have decided that his time away from me was too nice? Should I have sent a card (He had a death in the family.) Maybe I should give him another week off…I could go on for a month of Sundays.
A good friend of mine reminded me of something important – I am the consumer. I go and pay for a service and for one hour a week it’s all about me. I don’t need to care if his whole world caved in – I don’t have to worry about him the way I worry about my ducklings.
Because he’s a good therapist, he’s actually told me he wants to know when these things come up for me because it informs him about where I’m at. In other words – the fact that I was significantly distressed over whether or not I was holding up my end of the “relationship” in deciding not to send a sympathy card etc let’s me know that I’m still a little (just a leeeeetle) codependent. But all good things in time. The fact that I haven’t cut myself and have stayed reasonably on my food plan are all good things. The fact that I can have disturbing dreams about mommy dearest and can still get back to sleep is a good thing. I’ve come a long way.