Transference and countertransference are two key concepts in psychoanalysis and they are fascinating. If you’re interested in the therapy side of psychology – particularly psychoanalysis – this is the episode for you. Kerry Malawista, psychoanalyst and author, along with Anne Adeleman and Catherine Anderson, talks about their new book, “Wearing My Tutu To Analysis“. In this episode we focus on two of the stories in the book, which focus on transference and countertransference.
In earlier episodes of The Psych Files I asked you not to dismiss Freud’s ideas. Too often we only hear about his (100 year old) ideas on sex. There is A LOT more to Freud and this episode will convince you of that.
Basically, transference is when we take real live feelings from our own life and then literally transfer them onto the therapist or analyst. We do this in all aspects of our lives. If the brain had to respond to every new encounter like it had never seen it before we’d be overwhelmed with data. So transference is our way of using what se’ve learned from our earlier lives and then representing it on new people that come along. Sometimes that’s for positive when things went well in the past, and sometimes negatively when we keep repeating relationships [from the past] that weren’t helpful. – Kerry Malwista
Just like transference, countertransference is ubiquitous. It’s all the emotional responses a therapist has to a patient – both conscious and unconscious – and how valuable that data is if it can be used in the right way. That’s where the skills of the therapist come in. They can make note of the feelings they’re having and their [own] reactions and use them to further the work and maybe understand how the patient is actually feeling. – Kerry Malawista
Resources on Psychoanalysis
- The Necessity of the Frame in Psychotherapy
- In Defense of Defense Mechanisms
- Kerry Malwista’s blog on the Psychology Today site, Wearing My Tutu to Analysis