chapter  6
12 Pages

On Transference Love: Some Current Observations

WithBetty Joseph

Freud’s paper on transference love is not only of very lively interest but of fundamental importance. We might consider that, in showing her love, by her docility, the patient Freud describes already was showing her defenses against more critical and negative feelings and impulses. In Freud’s cases, one can see how, for example, the therapist who was flattered or seduced by the patient’s love not only was responding from a highly personal need to feel flattered and loved but was out of touch with the patient’s pathology. He indicates that the therapist has to guard against his narcissism and not imagine that the patient’s apparently having fallen in love with him has anything to do with his personality. Rather, he must see it as part of the analytic process, part of what the patient brings with her into treatment. There is further ambiguity in Freud’s discussion of the difference between normal love and transference love.