Transference - How past relationships emerge in the present

Susan M. Andersen and Regina Miranda argue that transference is a normal, everyday process.
Our research addresses the clinical concept of transference, and shows that Freud got it partly right. In fact, transference is not confined to the psychiatrist’s couch: it is at work in our normal mechanisms for social interaction. According to Freud (1912/1958), transference occurs when a client superimposes unconscious childhood fantasies about a parent on to an analyst. We do not concur with Freud’s assumption that the content of transference derives from unconscious psychosexual conflict and defence, and know of no evidence to support this claim. But our research provides support for Harry Stack Sullivan’s (1953) conception of transference (or ‘parataxic distortion’), and shows that it occurs in daily life, not only in psychotherapy.

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