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Page Contents: Resolving transference in psychotherapy.                    


I have been in psychotherapy for eight months after a gap of about eight years. I seem to be moving on so much quicker this time and with a real determination to use the therapeutic process honestly. I recently became aware of my sexual feelings for my therapist, and before discussing this with him, decided to explore the issue myself. Consequently this caused a huge shift in me and I had what I guess may be called a “breakthrough crisis,” all very painful but so amazingly insightful. What I don’t fully understand now, is why my sexual feelings for him have not abated. I know my need for him is based on my unfulfilled infant needs, but how does the process of transference resolve?

Look at it like this. As a child, you couldn’t talk to your parents about your needs they didn’t fulfill. That’s obvious, because that’s why you’re in paychotherapy. So, what do you do now as an adult who is learning to recognize and feel all the frustration about unfulfilled needs? Well, it’s necessary to talk to your psychotherapist, and, as odd as it sounds, it’s especially necessary to talk to him about needs he can’t fulfill either. But, unlike with your parents, with whom you couldn’t talk about your feelings, when you do talk to your psychotherapist, even though your needs don’t get fulfilled, you encounter all your painful emotions about your needs not being fulfilled.

Understanding this, you can then see that all those erotic feelings you have are the “natural” way to avoid dealing with your painful emotions by pretending the needs are fulfilled. So, in the end, these sexual feelings don’t do anything for you except keep you stuck in unconscious frustration.

Now, you seem to have discovered this fact on your own, without saying a thing about it to your psychotherapist.

But even if you have discovered this fact intellectually, the mere knowledge of it doesn’t resolve the unconscious desire. Only by speaking about your feelings and desires within the psychotherapy will you be able to face your deepest pain honestly and let the light and air get to your unconscious frustration, so that it can heal.


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