Transference

QA121 QUESTION: May I ask you if you can explain the difference between transference and projection?

ANSWER: A good question. Transference is when you have certain feelings you do not quite recognize and do not understand the full significance of, toward a parent or both parents. These same unresolved, conflicted, and contradictory or ambivalent feelings, are then directed to another person who is supposed to fulfill their role.

Projection, on the other hand, is when you feel certain qualities, trends, traits, aspects in yourself you cannot quite reconcile yourself with, you cannot quite accept, you shy away from. You then experience them in another person, where you find them extremely irksome or they irritate you. That is projection.

You project what is unacceptable to you in yourself on the other person and react to the other person as you truly really react to yourself. Transference would be applicable more for a human relationship and projection would be applicable to a trend, to an aspect in yourself.

 

QA139 QUESTION: As you probably know, my image Helper is the medium [Eva]. I hate her now very much and I feel like quitting the work. Or I want to have an image session with another person, but not with the medium. I feel very bad about it – I cannot even look at her.

ANSWER: Well, my friend, you see, here too, it is a question of pinpointing exactly the reason. As long as you let it go at this vague feeling, you run away. And you must not run away, because you have worked hard and diligently all these years and with a great deal of goodwill and honesty.

You are now coming to a point when, somewhere, the inner being has to make a further decision, as you have made decisions before, inwardly. I do not so much refer to outer behavior. This inner decision is, “Will I now continue to playact, to pretend?”

Because in spite of your honest efforts in this work – and there is an actual, honest motivation for this Pathwork – you also use this Pathwork in order to pretend, in order to dramatize, in order to play games and all sorts of drama, and playact.

Now, there comes the point when you have to make this inner decision: “Is it real? Is it going to be for real now? Do I want to really live, or do I want to go on being a playing child and thereby avoiding life and running away from situations?”

You do not really hate the medium [Eva]. This is not true. You hate your own fear of this very decision. Your real progress in this work has carried you to this point, and you hate this decision. Therefore you seek ways in which to run away from this. And it is so needless.

Your fear is so unjustified. There is nothing to fear. There is only to fear when you go on living in pretense, in playing, in acting, in dramatizing. That creates all sorts of very unfortunate situations and circumstances. And that which you fear is nothing to fear, nothing at all, my friend. That is your real hate.

You manufacture a hate, which is a projection from yourself, because you cannot yet admit to yourself and say, “Well, here I am. What do I want to do?” It would be even better if you would say, “Now, perhaps I’m not ready yet, but this is where my path has carried me. My path has carried me to the point where, is it real or do I want to go on pretending and acting?”

Even if you say, “Yes, I will go on pretending,” you will pretend less than manufacturing so artificially a hate until you talk yourself into it and believe it. It is not true. But in order to see this for yourself, you must not run, for working this out with another Helper would not solve your problem in the least. You would only feel, deep in your heart, the self-contempt that makes you not face and go through with something that does not even require courage.

QUESTION: I do not have the faith to tell her how I feel about it.

ANSWER: Well, you do it anyway. So you will take up a little more courage and tell a little more. You have done it in the past, and nothing has happened to you. If you run away from your own fears instead of going through them, you cannot really reap the fruit of this work that you deserve. You cheat yourself for the results. Don’t you see?

QUESTION: That is connected with my own cruelty?

ANSWER: Yes, you see, you are very right. Your own cruelty is also something you have not faced and that you only dare to express in very indirect ways. I am very glad that you could see it and say it. This is also what you fear. And you can work it through with your Helper, who is in the middle of this work with you. When you go to someone else, who does not follow step by step, one session after the other, what good can it do you at this point? You could only begin somewhere completely different and that would be a running away.

Do not fear. It is not going to come out the way you think. But pinpoint it. Have the courage to say it.

 

QA213 QUESTION: In any analytic therapy, there is a transference situation that builds. Many of the people who are on the Pathwork are also doing bioenergetics, and I feel it creates confusion in how to deal with that transference situation. Can you give us some comment on this?

ANSWER: I do not see any conflict in the sense you see it. The transference is always there and the problem really exists, not that in bioenergetics the transference should be handled differently than it is on the Pathwork. The way I see it, from my vantage point, transference should be handled exclusively in the way of helping to make the person who is working on the Path aware of his distortion in the way in which he perceives what is taking place.

Unless this is done, then conflicts will always exist, whether a person is only on the Path, only in bioenergetics, or in both. Now, this is not an easy task, because often a person is not even capable of bringing out what he perceives. He’s so blindly involved in what he perceives that it is not even discussed; it is not even a conscious concept.

So it is the skill of the Helper to make what he or she, the Worker, perceives in his Helper or in others with whom he establishes a so-called transference situation. That perception has to be clearly pronounced, and then the person has to learn to question his perceptions, at least, to begin with, lightly, and really have an investment in wanting to see: “Is that really the truth what I perceive in my Helper, in my therapist?”

You will often see that in that very question, when it is meditated with, that the immediate response from within comes that says, “I do not want to know the truth. I want to believe thus and thus.” The moment that is established, again you already have a much better vantage point, because the person is then at least aware that he is intentionally holding on to something that may not be the way he wants to see it.

That already brings a certain clarity into the situation. Then when he is more aware – and if he is not allowed to forget that that is what he perceives and that he wants to perceive it that way – then he will eventually, if he so decides, want to see in truth. And then he will begin to see two pictures: one of the past, and one of the present.

Little by little, there will come in a third picture: one, the past the way he saw it, and then there will be perhaps only a foggy vision how it might have been as opposed to how he saw it. And he will let in what is now, which usually does not correspond at all to the way he sees the Helper. That is the only way a transference situation can truly and effectively be handled. It may often take years, because the stake and the insistence and the intention to stay in it and see it that way is so tremendous.

But at least it should become, sooner or later, clear that there is indeed such an intent, and the intent is also not to want to see the truth.

QUESTION: What I don’t understand, or rather what I feel is complicated, is that every person who comes to the Path has this distorted attitude about the transference.

ANSWER: Everybody, not only on the Path, but everyone.

QUESTION: Everybody, in every therapy, in every endeavor. {Yes} And then it looks like, as the intuitive channel of the Helper opens up to help, their relations to the past – the mother and the father – flood in abundance in the interchange between the Helper and the Worker. And in that context, the situation is the same as many other therapies or situations.

ANSWER: Right. It is the same. The situation is the same. Whether other therapies handle it that way or not is not under discussion here. The question is, how, according to the innermost truth, is such a situation best handled?

Now, I say that when the channel is open on the part of the Helper, then he will learn much faster to guide the person he helps to bring out his personal feelings toward the Helper and then to examine to what extent are they reality, to what extent are they repetitions – distorted visions of the past.

That is the way to handle it. If the Helper has himself or herself a stake in not wanting to give up a childhood situation, if he himself is to his Helper still in a distortion and has a stake in seeing the distortion, he will not be equipped to see this with the person he helps.

QUESTION: Last year, in a special session for Helpers, you mentioned that Helpers should not encourage the transference situation.

ANSWER: Right. That is what I say here.

QUESTION: Well, at the same time, I hear you say that it is necessary or positive to encourage the Worker to direct certain feelings or attitudes towards the Helper.

ANSWER: You misunderstood what I said. I did not say it is positive that the Worker should be encouraged to have a transference. I said that the transference is inevitable, and the Helper should try to assist the Worker to bring out the feelings he has toward the Helper and then examine them. That is not the same.

What you call transference becomes a label that covers a lot of ground. But let us say the repetition of the childhood situation where the stake is in seeing it that way – that must be brought out and that is absolutely necessary. This is not a contradiction to what I said last year. Encouraging a transference situation is a not what I say here at all.

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