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Fr Jim Cogley

During the next few reflections we will be looking at the universal phenomenon known as transference. This comes from two Latin words trans which means across and ferre which means to carry. Psychologically, transference means to carry the past over into our present. It is where we translate story lines of what happened to us in the past into our present transactions. In transference we perpetuate old scenarios and keep them alive long after their sell-by date. We unconsciously place the face of a parent on a spouse or partner and thereby re-create our childhood story. We now react to that person as we did to our parent. The face of an authoritarian father becomes superimposed on a boss and so our unresolved issues with authority are now re-enacted but on a different stage. Basically transference is an unconscious phenomenon where we displace feelings, attitudes, expectations, beliefs and judgments that were appropriate to former figures in our lives, onto people in the present. Hence it is not usually the person in the present that we think we have a problem with, but rather who that person represents from our past.


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