Transference and countertransference issues?


So this is going to be VERY tricky for me, it’s like high leveled English for me, so I’m going to try to write my thoughts about the transference and countertransference issue’s.
I am just really reading and learning about it so I’m a big newbie. But I have tons of idea’s and questions, so just to try to order my mind, a blog post.

Thanks to Wikipedia;

Transference is a phenomenon characterized by unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another. One definition of transference is “the inappropriate repetition in the present of a relationship that was important in a person’s childhood.”[1] Another definition is “the redirection of feelings and desires and especially of those unconsciously retained from childhood toward a new object.”[2] Still another definition is “a reproduction of emotions relating to repressed experiences, especially of childhood, and the substitution of another person … for the original object of the repressed impulses.”[3] Transference was first described by Sigmund Freud, who acknowledged its importance for psychoanalysis for better understanding of the patient’s feelings.


So.. transference and counterstransference (damn, luckily it’s in the title, otherwise I’d be copy and pasting the sh*t out of it 😛 ), it’s like this very tricky thing. I don’t think I fully understand it just yet, but I am trying to.

First of all I’ll explain how I came to this subject.
Once upon a time.. no.. seriously, I had a talk with Betty thursday over the phone. Basically she (and I) seemed stuck. We don’t know what to do anymore, at least I get the feeling she doesn’t either. She asked me ‘Do you think someone else could help you better?’. I was a bit shocked that she asked that, but instantly I thought ‘hell no’.  After we hung up, I got to think about this a lot more.
So basically since I was 16 I have been in intense therapy (before that just flowing from one therapist to the other) and since that moment people have been telling me, I act to them as I act to my mother. Yeah, I’ve always had female therapists and I do get this ‘I want you to be my mummy’ feeling, and yeah I have it with Betty to. However, the people who do see me and treat me that often, I get this major mood swings with them as well. Suddenly they’re the worst person on earth and I hate them and then out of nowhere (it seems nowhere) I like them and want them to be my mummy again.
Betty once said to me (I think I wrote this once before) that she knows why I am acting like this (the same to them as I do to my mother) but that she just does not accept that. I was really ashamed of myself and realized what I had done.
So anyway, on the phone last thursday we were talking about how there is no clear line about my therapy. It’s just always crisis this, crisis that. So I told her it’s like I’m taking her in my emotional rollercoaster as well. She kind of agreed with me. Which made me think… every therapist has been in the rollercoaster with me!!! Oh my God. I’m horrible! It’s like there’s no way in between. Either you’re with me IN the rollercoaster, or youre not allowed in the theme park! They just can’t wait outside.
I know I do get very clingy to them, sometimes I really need to tell myself ‘NO! DONT DO IT!’, because I just feel like grabbing on to Betty asking her to never let me go again, or just to grab her leg and hold on tight. Like, seriously? She’d scream when I’d do that, I think xD or tell me I’m being inappropriate, haha. (What else is new?)

Ok this is gonna be a long one xD

Anyway! So yeah, I’ve been realizing that I’m taking everybody with me in the damn rollercoaster. And maybe yeah, I’ve been acting to them as if they’re my mums.
So the whole Brandon thing came up. Last Wednesday I had a talk with him and it did not go well… at one point he wanted to talk to me about a bit detailed stuff and I was like ‘uhh.. how about.. NO!’ So he told me that it might be important and stuff. I said to hem ‘lets make a deal, I’ll talk about it, if I get a free card for tomorrow for unlimited cutting’. (Yeah, shaking my head aswell, it must be terrible to treat me) So he told me ‘Its not up to me if you cut or not, it’s your responsibility’. But right after I had said that I knew how wrong I had been and that it was line crossing stuff.
So uhm, yeah, that about Brandon. Like, what the hell am I doing? Am I trying to provoke him?

So that about the whole thing that made this come up.

I have read a book about ‘Complex Trauma’ in Dutch and it said a little bit about this whole transference thing and I thought I got it. Then I talked to Justy and she said something about it which made me think even more. So I have been looking it up on internet, at explanations and stuff.

So yeah, about this transference and countertransference thing, is that about them going with me in the rollercoaster? Especially because of people telling me I’m acting the same way to them as if they are my mother.

I am realizing that I’m being stupid but at the same time, I just can’t get out of the rollercoaster! I’m stuck!
So this thing (damn, gotta type it again xD) transference, and the whole emotional toddler thing, IS THERE A WAY OUT?

Well, realizing this all for now really made me think (or just made it more clear) about how hard it must be to treat me? Sometimes I get the feeling nobody can, which is ridiculous of course, but it just needs a lot of time, or well more than usual. I do think it’s normal with (c)ptsd? Or BPD for that matter. But.. who resists it? How do you get out of it? I feel bad for Betty and Brandon (and the other people from the ‘team’) who deal with me, because I’d be pissed about an annoying ‘patient’ like that. And just get irritated by the idea of seeing him/her that day xD
I get the feeling I gave Betty a bad feeling about her treatment skills, though I REALLY think she is an amazing therapist, she manages to hit me at places which gives me a wake-up call, but I just sweep back into old behaviour. Like I need someone to correct me all freaking week-long. Like they are saying to me, you gotta walk from A to B. And then I go home and continue walking, but whenever I step foot of off the path someone needs to remind me, because I don’t really notice it untill I’m like hating Betty/Brandon (and then realizing ‘hey.. what changed?’). I do feel me slipping down sometimes, like looking back at my blog, the posts about the loneliness might have been a good first symptom or something like that.

I feel so complex (like other people must feel of course!), maybe it’s because they’re used to work with a bit older people, and I have just let go of the breast-feeding stuff, and they’re like ‘what a baby!’. I have been there for 12 months now, and I’m still ‘fighting’ with Betty.. I don’t want to fight.. but I keep doing it.
She told me it’s hard for her to keep track of the therapy-line, when these crisis come in (like suicidal feelings etc.), and I just wander of the therapy-line, and she wanders of with me :’)

So anyway, I’ve been blabbing for way too long. In some way I do think it’s funny, but just so stupid/painful it’s funny.. I feel real bad for Betty and Brandon. I do imagine the ‘team’ fighting at therapy over who will get Brianna today, like ‘no I don’t want her, she’s annoying, let Brandon have her today’ and the Brandon will be like ‘well I don’t want her either, she’s tiring, I’ve had her for 12 months now, you take her’ etc. That not funny, and not really logical, but there is a tiny part of me that might consider it going like that.

There are like a million things I’d like to say more but I’m on 1400 words now, time to quit.

So, does anyone have any ideas on this? Or own experiences? Please share!




5 thoughts on “Transference and countertransference issues?

  1. Well, (brace yourself for a difficult read)

    there’s very much to say on transference and countertransference. It’s a tricky subject also for therapists and especially for therapists working with people with childhoodtrauma (because we have these huge attachement problems).

    Transference is about repeating (consciously or subconciously) childhoodpaterns. Everybody does it in new relationships and mostly that is in a possitive way; You repeat what worked in the past. When someone is normally attached to his/her parents and has this strong foundation to build new contacts on, there’s no problem. You repeat what works; we’re speaking about repeating healthy behaviour.

    When someone like us, with CPTSD, meets new people we miss this strong foundation. We only have these dissapointments and the memories of being rejected, not important enough or being controlled by others. We lack a good sense of self. Therefore we can’t build healthy relationships. We miss red flags and get trapped easily in similiar relationships as we had in childhood, because that’s all we know. We even behave in ways that makes it possible for these bad childhoodpatterns too repeat themself.
    An example: We DON’T trust people which are to be trusted and therefore we lack warmth and possitive contacts in which we are allowed to grow and develop ourselves into healthy adults.
    Then we DO trust people that aren’t to be trusted (because they have something familiar, which we mistake with trustworthyness, [because that’s a feeling we don’t recognize] and we get confirmed in our patterns again when we are treated bad.

    Do you get me here?

    I was only talking normal relationships here.
    Transferance and countertransference issues have to do with the relationship between a client and a therapist. This is a very delicate relationship. One of the reasons for its delicacy is that it is such an intimate relationship, yet professional (it is like the mix between an office relationship with a co-worker and your lifepartner). Also it’s a relationship in which the client is very dependent; The therapist is the caretaker. It’s not an equal relationship and it never can be. The relationship, in reality, only exists in the office of the therapist, although in the experience of the client it exists all the time.

    Because clients like us missed a lot during childhood they try to catch up for it with their therapist. In therapy it’s about aknowledging and progressing, accepting and moving on, but the client can’t accept these hurtful things easily so he/she still tries to catch up with the therapist in the safe surrondings of therapy. One of the tasks of the therapist is to turn around this focus. This is very hard, because the client mistakes the unilateral character of therapy with ‘it finally being about him/her’ and with finally being met in his/her needs (which is true, but not in the way the client thinks, because his/her real needs are snowed under the desperate desire to get back what they lost).

    It’s very complicated to explain to you, but I hope I gave you a little insight in the mechanisms behind transference.

    With transference and countertransference it’s not about letting it happen or not letting it happen. It’s about recognizing it and being in control. This is the responsibility of the therapist. Transference isn’t good or bad. It just happens.

    When meeting a client, a therapist can feel a lot of emotions, because the therapist is human. Also he or she can have a bad day, or being remembered of something that triggers certain behavior or responses in the therapist. This is ok as long as the therapist recognizes it and don’t let it affect the professional character of the relationship too much.

    Then there’s the part in which a therapist uses transference and countertransference in order to heal the client. Some forms of therapy make use of it to build up the client. EMDR does too in some ways. Schematherapy also. There is this reparenting part. It’s very hard on the therapist, but a professional needs to be able to handle this.

    I too have experiences with transference and countertransference in my contacts with J. She tried the reparenting thing with me, for example. It worked perfectly but it made me much more attached to her (“Oh how I wish my real mom was like her!”), but with us both realizing what it does that’s no problem. It still is a relationship that allows me to grow and heal. I know it’s only a professional relationship.

    Don’t worry too much about transference and countertransference. Therapists need to be able to handle this, especially with clients with complex childhoodtrauma.

    I understand the part about the rollercoaster, but I think Betty needs to be much more businesslike with these issues. She needs to make it very clear where she’s standing and that you can either ride your rollercoaster alone or join here in a walk around your themepark. Do you understand me here?

    Work on the triggerlist we talked about. Work on your rollercoaster and let Betty be more in control. As a traumatherapist she needs to be able to handle your emotional toddler behavior. That’s just how it is.

    My own toddler is in her ‘terrible two’s’. The only thing that helps is to be consequent and to set proper boundaries that are predictable and always the same. This is what she should do with you too.

    Good luck sweety =)

    • I go my seatbelt on! 🙂

      Thanks for your long comment! You are so bright 🙂

      That reparenting part is really something that made me think of, while writing this. Like they need to make things go in the right directions as parents should have done?

      Yes.. but sometimes I do feel she can not handle it.. and not handle me acting like a toddler. So I really want to stop it, and it works for a while.. and then this big bomb explodes and everything comes out and I guess I shake the ground beneath her feet.
      Sweet M. 🙂

      So actually Betty or other traumatherapists should like parent people without being their parents. It seems like such an unhuman thing to do, with another adult. Especially since it’s a proffesional relationship. I am worried that Betty can’t handle it, or that Brandon cant and I’m being too much. But somehow I can’t seem to stop myself in time, like I have a tantrum and after the damage I see the damage, but in that moment, I’ll just keep on raging.

      I want to give Betty the control, to me it is like I do, but somehow I get back the control xD ? It’s so complicated.
      It makes me think about what is so different about me and the other people she’s seeing? What makes it stagnate so much between her and me?

      Let me know when you are feeling better, to explain the triggerlist (again xD). I tried yesterday evening but I don’t quite understand what to put under what question.

      You explain everything very clear about the transference thing! It’s really understandable 🙂

      Thanks SO much sweety! ❤


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