This is one of the best and most detailed articles about transference in the psychotherapeutic relationship I’ve ever read. In its proper place, and handled correctly, tranference (strong feelings of attachment) of a client toward their therapist is a desired outcome and facilitates treatment. Infantile feelings of powerful attachment are triggered and when they’re right at the surface, they can be worked with more directly, which can be extremely beneficial.
The dark side of this is transference can also become a slippery slope to full-blown limerence (something I experienced toward a therapist in my early 20’s) and become painful if the feelings or not returned. Even worse is if the therapist returns the client’s feelings (this happens more often than you’d think and is called counter-transference) and the therapeutic relationship is destroyed by becoming sexual or romantic.
This post appeared on Diary of a Boundary Ninja in 2012. I think it’s a must read for anyone in therapy or contemplating therapy.