Source: Jung on Transference

Here are a few selected quotes primarily from Jung’s essay on the Psychology of the Transference. I offer them to shine some light on the mysterious complexity which can and will come into any of our attempts to achieve true emotional intimacy. As is usually  true with my favorite quotes, the density of the language can be very challenging initially, but, if you keep reading, much of the meaning is accessible. I want to support broadening all the observations below, to consider how they may play out in everyday life relationships. These dynamics are not limited to patient-doctor relationship. Enjoy the swim.

“Practical analysis has shown that unconscious contents are invariably projected first upon concrete persons and situations. Many projections can ultimately be integrated back into the individual once he has recognized their subjective origin; others resist integration, and although they may be detached from their original objects, they thereon transfer themselves to the doctor. Among these contents the relation to the parent of the opposite sex plays a particularly important part, i.e., the relationship of son to mother, daughter to father, and also that of brother to sister. As a rule this complex cannot be integrated completely, since the doctor is nearly always put in the place of the father, the brother, and even (though naturally more rarely) the mother. Experience has shown that this projection persists with all its original intensity (which Freud regarded as aetiological), thus creating a bond that corresponds in every respect to the initial infantile relationship, with a tendency to recapitulate all the experiences of childhood on the doctor. In other words, the neurotic maladjustment of the patient is now transferred to him.” (p. 170-171.)

The conventional meeting is followed by an unconscious “familiarization” of one’s partner, brought about by the projection of archaic, infantile fantasies which were originally vested in members of the patient’s own family and which, because of their positive or negative fascination, attach him to parents, brothers, and sisters. The transference of these fantasies to the doctor draws him into the atmospheres of family intimacy, and although this is the last thing he wants, it nevertheless provides a workable prima materia.” (p. 218)

“The transference is the patient’s attempt to get into psychological rapport with the doctor. He needs this relationship if he is to overcome the dissociation. The feebler the rapport, ie., the less the doctor and the patient understand one another, the more intensely will the transference be fostered and the more sexual will be its form. . . . To attain the goal of adaptation is of such vital importance to the patient that sexuality intervenes as a function of compensation. Its aim is to consolidate a relationship that cannot ordinarily be achieved through mutual understanding. ” (p.134.)

“The transference therefore consists in a number of projections which act as a substitute for a real psychological relationship. They create an apparent relationship and this is very important, since it comes at a time when the patient’s habitual failure to adapt has been artificially intensified by his analytical removal into the past.” (p. 136.)

“Even the most experienced psychotherapist will discover again and again that he is caught up in a bond, a combination resting on mutual unconsciousness. And though he may believe himself to be in possession of all the necessary knowledge concerning the constellated archetypes, he will in the end come to realize that there are very many things indeed of which his academic knowledge never dreamed.” (p. 178.)

“Individuation involves the transformation of the analyst as well as the patient, stirring up in his or her personality the layers that correspond to the patient’s conflicts and insights …Archetypal dynamics will affect any analyst, but particularly one whose life is not fully lived and needs to be (Jung 1975, p. 172).

“The doctor, by voluntarily and consciously taking over the psychic sufferings of the patient, exposes himself to the overpowering contents of the unconscious and hence also to their inductive action. The case begins to “fascinate” him. . . .The patient, by bringing an activated unconscious content to bear upon the doctor, constellates the corresponding unconscious material in him, owing to the inductive effect which always emanates from projections in greater or lesser degree. Doctor and patient thus find themselves in a relationship founded on mutual unconsciousness.” (CW 16, p. 176.)

Ann B. Ulanov:“Jung remarks that the sexual attraction is always used by the unconscious to represent the urge toward reconciliation with split-away parts of ourselves (1976, p.173). The sexual transference, then, is a spontaneous way by which the psyche seeks to bridge a gulf between the patient’s ego-identity and the contra sexual contents projected upon the analyst (von Franz, VI, pp. 3-4). What would otherwise be a humiliating fixation upon the analyst is redeemed by its hidden purpose – to bring light into the patient’s relation to the anima or animus,….Patients in this position need not then just go on feeling foolish for desiring someone they cannot have, and indulging in childish sulks, mopings, or resentments when refused gratification. Instead, such patients see the task set them by this welling up of emotion, impulse, and aspiration, and the sense of soul with which they cloak the analyst figure. When patients long for the analyst, it is their first direct experience of their strong longing to be reconnected to a missing part of themselves, to some aspect of their own souls (p. 73-74). Jungian Analysis

“Once the projections are recognized as such, the particular form of rapport known as the transference is at an end, and the problem of individual relationship begins. . . .The touchstone of every analysis that has not stopped short at partial success, or come to a standstill with no success at all, is always this person-to-person relationship, a psychological situation where the patient confronts the doctor upon equal terms, and with the same ruthless criticism that he must inevitably learn from the doctor in the course of his treatment. . . . This kind of personal relationship is a freely negotiated bond or contract as opposed to the slavish and humanly degrading bondage of the transference. For the patient it is like a bridge; along it, he can make the first steps towards a worthwhile existence…” (CW- 16, p. 137)

“To the extent that the transference is projection and nothing more, it divides quite as much as it connects. But experience teaches that there is one connection in the transference which does not break off with the severance of the projection. That is because there is an extremely important instinctive factor behind it: the kinship libido. . . . Everyone is now a stranger among strangers. Kinship libido-which could still engender a satisfying feeling of belonging together as for instance in the early Christian communities – has long been deprived of its object. But, being an instinct, it is not to be satisfied by any mere substitute such as a creed, party, nation , or state. It wants the human connection. That is the core of the whole transference phenomenon, and it is impossible to argue it away, because relationship to the self is at once relationship to our fellow man, and no one can be related to the latter until he is related to himself.” p. 233-234.

Harriet G. Machtiger: “The processes of projection and introjection permeate all interpersonal relationships, and as such are important components of the countertransference/transference.The introjective response of the analyst allows for the identification that is the basis of the countertransference reaction of empathy. Countertransference includes not only the analyst’s capacity for empathy, antipathy, sympathy, and other affects, but the analyst’s total mental functioning. The analyst needs to be aware of being an instrument that furthers a process. While there is talk of the analyst’s need for genuineness, warmth, patience, and humility, along with accurate empathy, additional qualities called forth in the countertransference are the ability to accept a patient’s confusion, along with painful feelings, and not promote a positive attitude. Improvement takes place when the analyst can hold the attitude in the countertransference/transference that there is growth potential. p. 89-90, Jungian Analysis.

















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