Psychoanalytic theory discussion



In psychoanalytic theory, transference can be seen when a patient transfers feelings, attitudes, and fantasies they had for someone who played an essential part in their life, mostly during their developmental stage, to their therapist (Ramos, Garcia-Marques, & Hamilton, 2018). It is common for patients to have both positive and negative transference towards their therapist. As therapy moves forward, patients turn to dig deeper into their childhood anger and feelings unconsciously and regress emotionally (Cory, 2016, p. 70). On the other hand, countertransference can be defined as when a therapist’s unconscious reaction in an inappropriate way towards their client losing their goal because their emotions are triggered by the client (Abargil & Tishby, 2020). It occurs when a patient’s therapeutic content meets a therapist’s internal content. Over the years, researchers have gone ahead to expand countertransference to include not only the therapist’s reaction to the patient’s transference but towards all detail of the client’s personality and behavior (Corey, 2016, p. 71). This discussion aims to define transference and countertransference in psychoanalytical theory, talk about topics that can trigger countertransference in me, and ways to manage it.

It is essential to understand that we have emotions, we are unaware of buried deep down in us as humans. These emotions can be triggered by events or during therapy in the case of a therapist. Emotional responses that can be seen in countertransference may include but are not limited to withdrawal, love, anger, powerlessness, overidentification, and control (Corey, 2016, p. 71). Countertransference can be demonstrated in nonverbal and tonal action, which will always affect the client either knowingly or unknowingly (Safran, Kris, & Foley, 2019). Topics that can trigger countertransference include homelessness, a patient with a condescending behavior to me and others, sexual abuse, racism, and homophobia. I can identify them by the way I react towards the patient. Most often mt emotions will be passive because I am trying to be professional towards the patient. I can also identify it by the questions I ask y patient during the therapy. Although, as a therapist, we are supposed to understand where our clients are coming from and try to understand why they feel a certain way, I can see myself being triggered by such topics.

As a therapist, it is vital for me to look for ways to manage my countertransference, so it does not negatively affect my patients and me during therapy. One way to manage my countertransference is to go through analytical psychotherapy. Corey (2016) puts an emphasis on the importance of therapists to understand themselves and why they act a certain way (p.71). With the help of analytic psychotherapy, I will be able to identify and work on topics that may trigger my countertransference and seek ways to manage my feelings. This therapy will help me build a great connection with my client that is healthy, positive, and ethical. Another way to manage my countertransference is to understand my patient’s point of view, where they are coming from, were this behavior or feelings originated, and discuss it during therapy.

To conclude, transference and countertransference occur concurrently together. Transference is the client’s unconscious transfer of feelings for someone in their past to their therapist, while countertransference is the therapist unconscious deviation from their objective in a relationship with their client due to the therapist’s past causing a bias notion about a patient’s behavior. Topics that may trigger countertransference in me include sexual abuse, racism, and homophobia. One way to manage my countertransference is to participate in analytic psychotherapy, where I will understand what triggers my emotion and how-to manage them. I can also control my countertransference by understanding where my patient is coming from and addressing these findings during the therapy rather than being judgmental or biased.

References   Abargil, M., & Tishby, O. (2020). Countertransference as a reflection of the patient’s inner relationship conflict. Psychoanalytic Psychology. (Supplemental).

Corey, G. (2016). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage. ISBN: 9781305263727.

Ramos, T., Garcia-Marques, L., & Hamilton, D. (2018). Spontaneous trait inference and transference: Exploring the link between names and traits. Annalise Psychological, 36(4), 399–408.

Safran, J. D., Kris, A., & Foley, V. K. (2019). Psychodynamic psychotherapies. In D. Wedding & R. J (Eds). Current Psychotherapies (11th ed., pp. 21-57).

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