Transferring Feelings: The Nature of Transference
Posted by Dr. Vollmer on October 15, 2013
“If someone’s need for love is not entirely satisfied by reality, he is bound to approach every new person whom he meets with libidinal anticipatory ideas.” S. Freud, “The Dynamics of Transference” 1912
Teri, twenty-nine, like Ernestine in a previous post, has had a series of inappropriate relationships. Every internet date, every random encounter with a single man, is filled with the hope that she has found “the one”. Teri is having transference outside of our sessions, as she unconsciously makes every guy into her soul mate, wishing that she can satisfy her need for love. The goal of the treatment is to help her see how her need for love is coloring her judgment, by showing that her assumptions about people, and ultimately, her assumptions about me, are based on wishes and fantasies, and not on her relationship capacity to slowly get to know the other person. Teri’s deprivation creates a desperation, which then creates a life in which she lives in wishes, or transference, which means unconscious assumptions about the other. Learning the difference between a wish and the real person in front of Teri, is her challenge, because consciously she says “I just have not found the right person,” but unconsciously she is assuming that each boy is going to be her husband and then she is extraordinarily disappointed when there is no second date. Working in this space of wishes, of the transference, is tricky, because Teri wants to believe that her disappointments are a result of “all those horrible guys out there” and not her own unrealistic expectations of them.