Friday, September 28, 2012

transference healing




Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am home again
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am whole again
~ The Cure


Question:
I was listening to an interview with Fran├žoise Dolto, a famous French child psychoanalyst, and she said that transference* was necessary for psychological healing to take place.  Do you think the same is true for adults?

Great question!

First of all I agree that, yes, in order for therapy to be healing, transference has to occur.  It works the same as an infected wound.  It has to be opened in order to heal again.  In psychological terms, this means regressing to the emotional stage when a trauma first transpired.  Transference facilitates that process. 

But there are various paths to healing.  Psychoanalysis is one path, but it is long and arduous and does not work for everyone.  EMDR is another path.  EMDR facilitates regression but without transference onto the therapist.  It is immediate and effective, but it is not a path that is suitable to complex relational trauma.  Couple therapy is IMHO the most promising path of all.  It is relationally-based, accessible to anyone, and more efficient than psychoanalysis.  Why?  Because, if we are in a love relationship, we have probably regressed to exactly where we need to be in order to be healed from past wounds.  Transference, in other words, has already occurred. 

That said, not all wounds need to be treated with therapy.  Getting hurt is a normal part of human existence and, given time, most wounds will heal all by themselves.  

"The way out of suffering is through it."
~Anonymous

*transference is the unconscious projection of feelings (usually those felt for a parent when one was a child) onto another person, causing the transposition of past interpersonal dynamics onto the present such that one’s childhood drama is re-enacted.