8th October 2018 Personal Learning Record 3 Psychodynamic Approaches

8th October 2018

Personal Learning Record 3

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Psychodynamic Approaches (Transference)

Transference was first described by Sigmund Freud in his book “Studies on Hysteria” (1895). Transference is a core feature of psychodynamic therapy and it describes a setting where we can unconsciously transfer feelings, desires and attitudes from one individual to another person or situation. This unconscious process is activated where the client is unaware this is happening. Through engaging in the counselling process, the client become more self-aware and gains understanding of how their experiences affects their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Initially our unconscious processes are a means of coping with difficult life events or situations

This is commonly experienced in the counselling process. The client can transfer feelings or emotions they have about someone else onto the counsellor. Transference is an unconscious process which can arise out of early childhood or adult experiences that have not been resolved, e.g. how we relate to significant others such as parents and this can be challenged during the counselling process by making the client aware of it.

As stated in (Kahn, Pg.183, 2002) “Our earliest relationships form in our minds template into which we attempt to fit all subsequent relationships.”

Countertransference is how we as counsellors can transfer feelings or emotions onto clients which can be triggered by something unrelated to the client. This could be for example something the client says, their appearances, or even the way they smell, and this can be a negative response or a positive one.

As stated in (Kahn, Pg. 198, 2002) “From this perspective we might define countertransference as all the feelings, thoughts, and perceptions the therapist has about the client.”

Recently in a counselling session, I became aware that transference and countertransference was happening between the client and myself. Through the use of supervision, I realised that I was being drawn in to meet her needs and that was my stuff as I was a parent and had a nature to care. This client, I felt was seeing me as a mother figure which was a challenge for me. I became aware to take a step back to facilite her to take responsibility and support her to come up with her own solutions in the therapeutic process instead of trying to nurture her.

This was evident of the client’s early emotional life and how she had responded to her mother, and by looking closely at this I was able to see how she was connecting our relationship with the relationship with her mother, which had been problematic for her. This has helped me develop as a counsellor and more aware when transference is happening in the therapeutic process.

This has also aided my own personal development as it has allowed me to understand my journey growing up and why things were detrimental to my growth which has allowed me to see why I hadn’t moved on. Through the help of personal therapy, I was able to go back and sort it out which has given me a greater understanding of why this was happening. I also explored in depth about an abusive relationship I had been in and how I had unconsciously transferred my feeling toward my ex partner onto other men and classed them all the same.

Sinead Mc Gaughey


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