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Transference in Psychoanalysis

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What are some practical ways of dealing with transference in psychoanalysis?

I’ve read whatever I could find on the internet about transference and counter-transference, about how the concept evolved from Freud’s days to contemporary psychology, and I’m still wondering:

I understand it; it is a fantasy, it has no base in reality as I don’t know much about my therapist and she knows everything about me. I get that it’s a projection of some template of my psych unto the person of the therapist that makes me feel this way and these are not actual feelings for the real person that she is; which is obvious since I don’t know that person to begin with. All I know about her is that she’s understanding, helpful, and good looking. Which is why it gets confusing on an emotional level, even though I’m able to recognize that it’s just a fantasy. Having said all this, how do I deal with these strong emotions?

I’m able to recognize the transference feelings, I’m even able to understand what they are, to a certain point of course, but what I’m not able to is to cope with them, to manage them.

Needless to say, I haven’t brought this up in therapy because I’m feeling ashamed and more than that I’m somehow afraid that she’ll recommend me to another therapist or that she’ll no longer want to have me as her patient. I also recognize this as fear of abandonment, but I can’t get over it.

So my question to you is how to I stop thinking about her all the time, how do I cope with my feelings regarding this issue?

Transference in Psychoanalysis

Answered by on -


This is an excellent question. The short answer is that you have to talk with he therapist about it. Here is why: Transferences are not a complete transfer of emotions from people in our past on to a person (in this case your therapist). The work in therapy is to understand that the feelings for the therapist are transferences, and to bring them to light in the session. This helps to clarify and learn about them. Since this is a positive transference, it may be less difficult for you to express than a negative one.

Don’t wait. The therapist has been trained in coping with it, and it is likely to be a powerful help for you. Here is a series of articles I’ve written about a particular type of transference in group therapy.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Transference in Psychoanalysis

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Transference in Psychoanalysis. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 23 Jan 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.