Transference: From past to present and into the future

Like an active vortex that sucks in atmospheric textures, swirls them around and spits out a reflection of our earliest years, transference is a felt sense within varied situational milieu that reflects a uniquely personal perceptual shaping of reality.  This is a reality that matches early embedded emotional-motivational patterns of energy and information flow.   Correspondingly, transference is the phenomenon that powerfully evokes a seemingly grounded sense of what is relationally known (metal process) from a felt sense of a relational knowing (awareness) and implicitly shapes how the Self finds and reacts to an other (lower case “other” to highlight the element of the Self that creates a perception and interpretation of the Other that may or may not be contextually coherent; Brockman, 2000; Pincus et al., 2007; Siegel, 2012).  Such metaphysical phenomenon captivates my very being; a fascination based in an awareness of the ever-emerging dichotomy, or the polarising paradox between that which is implicit and that which is explicit in perceptions and interpretations of relational interactions.  That is, in understanding that transference relies upon implicit perceptions, I am quite taken aback by the vast split between what is an accurate interpretation of a relational interaction and what is a perception based in a need for a sense of relational protection – an afferent to efferent projection based in emotional-motivational patterning created from past interpretations and innately involved in maintaining safety and homeostatic balance (Brockman, 2000; Pincus et al., 2007).

With this in mind, even as I have become more explicitly attuned to the affectual nuances in my perceptions, and thus the emotional-motivational interpretations that have influenced certain patterns in the manner by which I relate, I am repeatedly still taken aback by my susceptibility to implicitly oblige to others “eliciting characterological patterns” (Gabbard, 2006, p. 285) and for others to oblige to my own implicitly instigated eliciting actions.  Indeed, while there is a deep intrapersonal intention to continually recognise the nuances that effect accurate perception, there is an inadvertent paradox of the implicit-ness to the phenomenon that powerfully evokes the Self’s perceptual patterning – we do not know what we do not know until what we do not know becomes known. 

Albeit, though this may be true, I have come to acknowledge the potentiality in reflective awareness, conceptualisation, and the ability to utilise the knowing and the known of situational milieu alongside an open curiosity toward the unknown to instigate reparative interactions that make the implicit, explicit (Tayber & Tayber, 2017).  Most specifically, whether in-the-moment or after-the-moment, I am professionally and personally revelling whole heartedly in the human capacity to create a level of differentiated relatedness that attunes to the pull of the phenomenal vortex(s), resists the will to oblige through an establishment of Self grounded-ness in coherent context, and instigates reconnection with the Other with tentative curiosity when characterological patterning has created rupture (Gabbard, 2006; Tayber & Tayber, 2017).  In authentic humanness we are lured in transference and countertransference reactions, and in authentic humanness we can respond in reparation.


Brockman, R. (2000). Transference, affect, and neurobiology. Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis28(2), 275-288.

Gabbard, G. O. (2006). A neuroscience perspective on transference. Psychiatric Annals36(4), 282-288.

Pincus, D., Freeman, W., & Modell, A. (2007). Neurobiological model of perception: Considerations for transference. Psychoanalytic Psychology24(4), 623-640.

Schore, A. N. (2001). Right brain as the neurobiological substratum of Freud’s dynamic unconscious. In D. E. Scharff (Ed.), The psychoanalytic century: Freud’s legacy for the future (pp. 61-88). Other PressLlc.

Siegel, D. J. (2012). Pocket guide to interpersonal neurobiology: An integrative handbook of the mind (Norton series on interpersonal neurobiology). W. W. Norton & Company.

Teyber, E., & Teyber, F. (2017). Interpersonal process in therapy: An integrative model (7th ed.). Cengage Learning.