What is Transference?

What is transference and why should you care about it?

Well, it means you are taking ideas and expectations from your past and putting them into your current life.

Transferring them to the people, scenarios, and situations of your current life.

Mostly, the expectations of what people are going to do and say to you. And what they think about you.

An Example of Transference

An example of transference would be the expectation that you have as an adult that people are making fun of you or will make fun of you if you express yourself. And this happens because of your past experience. Specifically, the experience of being a child who felt the pain of being humiliated or ridiculed when you expressed your feelings. You were humiliated or ridiculed by the people who took care of you, the people who were important to you. Thus, this created an adult who is unable to be free with their feelings, free with their expression of themselves. You have an innate expectation that you will be humiliated or made fun of for expressing yourself.

But the reality is, that’s NOT the case and people are interested in your authentic self.

However, when your early life has taught you that expressing your authentic self is painful and humiliating, then this is an experience that is transferred to your adult life and you transfer it to the people in your life.

Why Should You Care About Transference?

The reason why transference is important in therapy is because seeing these patterns, making them visible, gives you the choice to do things differently. To take the tough step of expressing yourself even if you’re afraid that you’ll be ridiculed or humiliated. By understanding that transference from your early life to your current life, of certain ideas and expectations, you have the opportunity to do something different. You have a choice.

It Gives You More Choices

Therapy doesn’t fix you. It gives you more choices about how you are going to behave in any given situation. Then, you become more flexible. And as a result, you are not trapped by the transference of old ideas and expectations in your current life.

And that is, really, the long and short of what transference is.

Interested in figuring out how transference is affecting your life? Give me a call. We’ll talk.

Leah Benson Therapy icon

Contact me now to set up your free 15-minute phone consultation.

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