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Old 12-02-2018, 02:43 PM #21
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Default Re: Has anyone successfully worked through their transference?

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Originally Posted by Waterloo12345 View Post
Well I did it in fits and starts by email cause am like a coward that way!! And I barely or only tangentially acknowledge it face to face but in email have been pretty clear, used 'love', referred to 'daddy', referred to wanting connection, comfort, non abandonment or 'well done/Good job', said expressly it's coming from 10 year or 2 year or baby me etc. He's following my lead in non or only tangential reference so far. Including to assure me it's normal, fine, a tool to heal.
Are you older or younger than him. I am 51 and he is like 34 so it is really awkward for me to feel this way. I know age and gender does not matter in things like this.
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When a child’s emotional needs are not met and a child is repeatedly hurt and abused, this deeply and profoundly affects the child’s development. Wanting those unmet childhood needs in adulthood. Looking for safety, protection, being cherished and loved can often be normal unmet needs in childhood, and the survivor searches for these in other adults. This can be where survivors search for mother and father figures. Transference issues in counseling can occur and this is normal for childhood abuse survivors.
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Old 12-02-2018, 03:01 PM #22
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Default Re: Has anyone successfully worked through their transference?

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Originally Posted by MoxieDoxie View Post
Are you older or younger than him. I am 51 and he is like 34 so it is really awkward for me to feel this way. I know age and gender does not matter in things like this.
Yep agree age/sex not matter as my feelings are actually maternal/primary care giver type. So he should be a woman!

But am 42 he's 50 or 49. If it helps until I clarified it, he was like am married. Am like eeewwwwwww. Also he's my doc not therapist to be clear.

But I've had transference to a number of mentor, caring type figures of both sexes but mostly older male over the years- obvs a huuugeeeee hole to fill as it just latches anywhere

My T is a woman of perhaps 45-50 and I feel negative maternal transference to her! Told her girl me views her a mummy but the prickly non trusting version. In email. Never acknowledged! Well she tries to raise it every so often and I blank her.

But will do something like sit in my 10 yr old pose and that is her cue that am interacting as a child. Also talk to her as if it is that part talking so I guess we talk around it.
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Old 12-02-2018, 03:21 PM #23
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Default Re: Has anyone successfully worked through their transference?

I see transference as a useful tool in therapy, but not in exactly the way you seem to be talking about it. It's not something I've ever had to bring up specifically, just an interesting lens through which to examine some of my feelings and behavior in therapy.

So it's not like I ever said oh hey Dr. Therapist, I have XYZ transference towards you. I just do what I can to describe how I'm feeling, including how I'm feeling towards him, and what feelings being around him seems to stir up. And then together we look at where those feelings could be coming from, whether that's something about him or something he did, or something from my past and my internal world that's being evoked. Or often a bit of both.

It's difficult sometimes for sure, but it's certainly nothing like an addiction.
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Old 12-02-2018, 03:32 PM #24
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Default Re: Has anyone successfully worked through their transference?

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Originally Posted by toomanycats View Post
*shrug* I don't consider my transference an addiction nor does it take away from my life.

I also don't know that I'll ever "work through" my transference in that I don't think I'll ever stop seeing my therapist as a father figure. I don't see anything wrong with that, though.

I'm not in therapy for forever, and I will say goodbye someday. But I will always view him as having been a father figure to me.

In my experience, seeing my former T as a father figure is not the same as a paternal transference. The difference is that now that attachment isn't fueled by needs. The needs were met. So what remains is a mutual fondness, a normalized adult daughter/father relationship. For me it has been one of the rewards of seeing the process through.
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Old 12-02-2018, 03:43 PM #25
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Default Re: Has anyone successfully worked through their transference?

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Ok how do you even tell your therapist about your transference? What do you say?

I never did. My experience was more like starfishing's. I was open about my feelings as they arose, but it was my T who explicitly brought it up after it had played out for a long time. My understanding is that this is common in psychoanalytically informed therapy: that the T brings the transference into explicit sharp focus only at the point the client is able to reflect upon it from a position of emotional strength, rather than act/express it through unmet needs. That's where the astuteness is especially important, I think. If it's brought out while the needs are still active, the realization that the T can't fully meet them can be too painful to bear. If timed correctly, there is a tinge of sadness or regret at the realization, but it's greatly tempered by the experiential awareness that the caring received is enough.
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Old 12-02-2018, 04:24 PM #26
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Default Re: Has anyone successfully worked through their transference?

Just out of curiosity what would it look like for a T to bring up the paternal transference, like what would he say? This sounds horrifying to me, clearly I must not be ready.
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Old 12-02-2018, 04:28 PM #27
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Default Re: Has anyone successfully worked through their transference?

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In my experience and from the dozens of accounts I have read about it, no it’s not possible to work through something like that.
A lot of these « transference » cases are straight up addictions. The only way to stop an addiction is cutting off supply. Was that way for me. No amount of talking about it with my ex therapist was going to change anything except the state of my bank account.

From what I’ve noticed people who say they have worked through it are always still in therapy.
Not exactly a sign that things have been « worked through » imo.
So you think the sign that something has been worked through means not needing or wanting therapy any more?

I think I used to think that I would get to a point of saying 'great, the (original) problem is solved, so no more therapy', but I've kind of changed my point of view as things have gone along.

In my therapy we don't really use the word or the idea of 'transference'. Still I have been through positive transformations that have been huge for me and in the context of my life, and the therapeutic relationship has been very important to me. So I am very thankful and I see it as a positive thing generally. I'm also quite comfortable with carrying on seeing my T for many years as long as I can afford it and as long as I find it helpful and a positive thing in my life. I am totally fine with this and I don't really see it as a negative or a sign that something has not been worked through.
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Old 12-02-2018, 04:36 PM #28
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Default Re: Has anyone successfully worked through their transference?

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Originally Posted by Anastasia~ View Post
Just out of curiosity what would it look like for a T to bring up the paternal transference, like what would he say? This sounds horrifying to me, clearly I must not be ready.
My T began very early in our work to tell me that he was having strong feelings - strong feelings of care and protectiveness. He will still bring this up in our work on his own. He will tell me just bluntly mid-session that he's feeling strong daddy feelings or strong protective feelings.

It did and sometimes still does cause me a strange sense of physical pain coupled with longing. It's like care hurts... I want it, but when I encounter it, it feels like too much to handle - I used to describe it like watering a dry plant. If you dump a bunch of water on it at once, the plant simply cannot absorb it all.
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Old 12-02-2018, 04:47 PM #29
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Default Re: Has anyone successfully worked through their transference?

Mine just said, in the middle of a very emotional discussion (I don't remember the topic, but it was @ 2/3 the way through a long therapy), "FKM, do you want me to be your Father?" It was said very matter of fact-ly, not at all incredulously. My answer was to deflect him, telling him he couldn't be. His response was to say that was true, that he couldn't be my father biologically. Then he said, "FKM, do you think that means that I can't care about you as a Father?"



And then we talked about how I didn't know much about being fathered, and he shared the fatherly feelings he had for me, what they felt like, and how they affected him. That led to a discussion of the ways in which I showed I was searching to fill the emotional need for a father, why that came about, and how I could satisfy those needs through him. Of course, this conversation was only the beginning, and that exploration deepened for the next few years.
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Old 12-02-2018, 04:52 PM #30
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Default Re: Has anyone successfully worked through their transference?

For me the path to resolving an all-consuming therapist entanglement was:

(a) stop using self-defeating and meaningless terms like "transference"
(b) stop buying into industry propaganda about the need to "work thru" something that was conjured up therapy itself
(c) recognize the insanity of the process generally... developing strong feelings of any kind toward a virtual stranger and professional actor
(d) trust myself to sort out what happened

Also, I think just because people can extract a handful of insights or have some pleasant feelings during this process does not make it a good thing, on the whole, nor does it justify that existence of the process.
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