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Back to basics: How the discovery of transference [...]
Erik de Haan
Purpose: In this study the phenomenon of transference and parallel processes explored in terms of its historical understanding and possible occurrences in real life sessions with clients. As will be shown, transference is increasingly held to be highly relevant for executive coaches, organisational consultants and supervisors alike.
Design/Methodology: After a summary of the main historical breakthroughs in the discoveries of defences, resistance, transference, countertransference, working alliance and parallel process; this process of discovery itself, which parallels the discovery of these phenomena in coach training and in new client relationships, is reversed to reveal a sensible approach to working with new clients in such a way that one makes maximum use of information that comes through countertransference, transference and informing layers underneath.
Results: It is shown that Freud’s approach to the phenomenon of transference is still relevant today and particularly within organisational contexts. Moreover the article shows that the discovery process of transference, both by Freud and others and by new practitioners entering the field today, can be reversed to yield an approach to new clients which helps to understand them more fully earlier on in the relationship.
Conclusions: Transference is still a very lively and relevant topic a good century after its first discovery. Coaches would do well to notice transference phenomena within themselves and their clients.
Keywords: transference; parallel process; working alliance; consulting; history of psychoanalysis; coaching interventions; Sigmund Freud
Full article: Volume 6, Issue 2 pages 180 - 193