The Evidence: Transference Interpretations and Patient Outcomes— A Comparison of “Types” of Patients
Brief psychodynamic psychotherapies are prominent in many treatment settings. One of their central and defining technical features is the interpretation of transference. Thus, the study of the appropriate use of transference interpretations in brief therapies is an important undertaking. Although various definitions of transference, interpretation, and associated concepts have been proposed, transference interpretation is commonly understood to refer to the therapist making reference to the patient’s reaction to him or her, which is to some extent determined by the patient’s previous relationships (Piper, 1993). There seems to be general agreement that interventions that explicitly address the dynamics of the patient’s behavior toward the therapist in the here and now (i.e., transference) have a special impact on outcome. Transference interpretations are affectively immediate and compelling. Thus, analysis of the transference makes it possible for the patient (and therapist) to become directly aware of distinctions between what is real in the therapy situation and what is determined in fantasy by past experience. Transference interpretations set in motion a chain of events that are assumed to bring about insight and dynamic change.