Transference

Intrinsic to the developmental model of mental organization is that adults are constantly repeating childhood patterns in the present. Transference is the best-known example of this phenomenon. The patient unconsciously experiences the doctor as a significant figure from the past and reacts to the doctor based on a set of unconscious attributions based on those past experiences. Transference has undergone considerable revision in more recent writings, so that today much more emphasis is placed on the clinician's contributions to the patient's transference. In other words, if a clinician is silent and remote, the patient may experience that clinician as disengaged and cold. While an internal template of past experiences with authority figures may correlate with that perception, we would also recognize that the clinician's real behaviour contributes to that precise transference paradigm. In that regard, a more contemporary view of transference would be that every treatment relationship is a mixture of new features based on real characteristics of the clinician and old experiences from the patient's past. Psychodynamic clinicians also recognize a bidimensional quality to transference: while one dimension involves repetition of the past, another dimension is seeking an experience with a new object to facilitate further emotional growth.

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