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Transference, Countertransference and the Conversational Model.

Transference, Countertransference and the Conversational Model.

It has been said that transference and countertransference are two of the most central constructs in the practice of psychotherapy. Although different schools conceptualise these key ideas in slightly different ways that reflect their core underlying assumptions, they all share the notion that there is a repetitive dimension to each person’s behaviour that also emerges in therapy, that one may not be aware of. The meaning of these terms has expanded over the years to such an extent that in some circles transference and countertransference have come to mean all of the behaviours that emerge in therapy. Although there may be much truth in such a “universal” perspective, the value of these constructs may be compromised and dimished when their specificity is lost.

The Conversational Model proposes restricting the use of the concept of transference to those repetitive elements that come from a traumatic relational past and that one may be unaware of. The Conversational Model is a “Relational Model” that highlights the importance of mutually regulated, co-constructed, and overlapping expectational fields.

Supervision offers one of several potentially safe spaces where one can explore one’s own understanding of these traumatic elements, in order to overcome any potential limitations that can arise when a poor understanding may disrupt the progress of therapy. Dr Lianos will give an overview of the ideas of transference and countertransference as conceptualised from within the Conversational Model, before proceeding to discuss the importance of exploring these issues in clinical supervision.

Areas of Interest / Categories: Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy, Psychotherapy Supervision