Sigmund Freud talked about the aim of psychoanalysis being a method of “transforming your hysterical misery into common unhappiness.”
If Freud was here today in 2016 he might wonder if he should have played down the benefits of his new approach. He might wonder at our need to have the answers to ourselves revealed immediately like swallowing a magic pill. We get what we pay for. If we pay we expect results.
Joseph Breuer one of Freud’s colleagues saw a patient called Anna O. She coined the term “talking cure”.
In this day and age a very unhelpful but easy to recognise (and false) aim of the talking therapies is the phrase “talking cure”.
As Janet Malcolm describes that one gift that Freud gave to humanity is the phenomenon of transference. Basically transference reinforces the idea that we do not see people around us truthfully or clearly. We see what we want to see. We have our own reality. Or to quote Luis De Silva “The thought one thinks and the words one speaks to one’s self, is what creates our reality.”
We look on the world through the eyes of our experience. What we have experienced in the past forms the way we look at other people and situations.
For example: a colleague tells you the boss wants to see you in his office. There are many reactions you can have to this information. This reaction will be predetermined by experiences around authority and power in childhood. If you had a kind experience of authority you might react with wondering what the boss might want.
A harsher experience might evoke fear, fight or flight.
To notice our own transference is to set up a view of ourselves that is non- judgemental, curious, and revealing. This changes our perspective. No longer do people do things to us: but they become players in a scenario that is familiar and comfortable to us which we repeat. Familiar and comfortable is not necesarily good for us.
In fact it can prevent us from leading our best lives.
We repeat and resist, repeat and resist, repeat and resist. To the end of our lives unless we can see the transference. Age and the passing of time is seen as a cure. But we underestimate the resistance to change and the comfort of old patterns started early in our lives.
In this time of hopes and promises perhaps the internal noticing of transference might change our view of our lives in a way that piecemeal external changes never could.
Happy New Year 2016!
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2016
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique