Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

The Induction of Noninterpreted Benevolent Transference as a Vehicle for Change

Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

The Induction of Noninterpreted Benevolent Transference as a Vehicle for Change

Article excerpt

It has become widely accepted that nontransference interpretation can have power (Blum, 1983). My intent in this paper is to describe an active, intentionally evoked, but uninterpreted, positive transference that is designed to effect change in the patient in an otherwise psychoanalytically oriented therapy. The changes may range from symptom relief to more significant change, as reflected in modifications in the patient's self-perception, perception of others (self-object constellations), and experience in the world. Apart from interpretation of conflict revealed in the patient's experience of the world, the uninterpreted positive transference offers a new object relationship devoid of significant conflict that may closely approximate an ideal of the good parent (the internalization of a good object). In this respect, it contributes strongly to a change in the representational world. The positive transference is not only the substrate of the ongoing process of therapy, but also a useful product of the process. To implement this change the therapist develops a therapeutic stance through specific actions and an attitude that offers the patient a new and benevolent object.

KEYWORDS: benevolent uninterpreted transference, structural changes, ideal transferences, induction of transference

Although constructed by Freud as a concept central to psychoanalytic treatment, transference has pertinence to all human relationships. It implies that relationships are affected to a greater or lesser extent by the emergence of old imagoes, often of the parents, real, fantasized, or wishful. In treatment much depends on the intensity of the developing relationship itself, which is not necessarily a function of the frequency of contact. The relative "absence" of the analyst in the psychoanalytic situation is designed to create a climate for the emergence of a variety of transference reactions over the course of the analysis.

It has become more widely accepted that nontransference interpretation can have power (Blum, 1983). My intent in this paper is to describe an active, intentionally evoked, but uninterpreted, positive transference designed to effect change in the patient in an otherwise psychoanalytically oriented therapy. The changes may range from symptom relief to more significant change as reflected in modifications in the patient's self -perception, perception of others (self-object constellations), and experience in the world. Apart from interpretation of conflict revealed in the patient's experience of the world, the positive transference offers a new object relationship devoid of significant conflict that may closely approximate an ideal of the good parent (the internalization of a good object). This contributes strongly to a more confident engagement in the world as a product of change in the representational world. The positive transference is not only the substrate of the ongoing process of therapy, but also a useful product of the process. To implement this change the therapist develops a therapeutic stance through specific actions and an attitude that offers the patient a new and benevolent object. The stance is neither contrived nor is it simply being nice to the patient. It is constructed in accordance with the unique characteristics of the patient and therapist dyad, and though guided by specific principles, is variable in its form from patient to patient, this reflective of the patient's personality, social class, intelligence, introspective capacity, etc. The language that evolves in the dialogue is unique to the dyad, and the therapist's interventions are both consciously formed and spontaneous, and intuitive; sometimes more formal, sometimes more idiomatic and colloquial, more or less affectively charged, etc. Moreover the availability of a patient for change may be facilitated by a situation of crisis with its accompanying disorganization, though substantial change may occur in long-term therapies. …

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