Family Therapy beyond Postmodernism: Practice Challenges Theory

By Carmel Flaskas | Go to book overview

Chapter 9

Transference, projective identification and time

Time is a marker in psychotherapy. Clients bring here-and-now concerns, yet current personal and familial concerns are part of a human landscape which bridges past, present and future time. The last chapter explored attachment and the unconscious. Transference, countertransference and projective identification are particular psychoanalytic ideas that describe aspects of the meeting of conscious and unconscious experience in relationships and the shaping of past experience in the present. These ideas are tailored to understanding the therapeutic leeway of psychoanalysis, yet they also give broader understandings of relational patterns, and they link to themes about the lived experience of time.

This chapter begins again with practice experience, then moves through a discussion of transference, countertransference and projective identification. The second part of the exploration focuses on time. Themes here include the lived experience of time, the dimensions of past and future time in present time, 'stuck' time and narrative closure, and repeating patterns. This constellation of ideas is then used to reflect on the practice experience.


Some practice experience

First Piece

I see a woman and her two daughters, the older one seven and the younger one five. The 7-year-old wakes at night with abdominal pain and becomes very upset and often ends up in tears during the day. In the second session, this child brings me a picture of herself as a baby being held by her father. Her parents have never lived together, and their ongoing contact

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