Problems of Transference and Countertransference

  • Doris Lamb


A younger adolescent unable to control her self-destructive acting-out behavior may come to view her psychotherapist as extremely powerful. Seeing her therapist as powerful and capable of controlling her helps the girl limit her behavior. She can, to some extent, ease her fears of becoming out of control. It is as if her magical, omnipotent therapist will take care of her and protect her from her own hostile and self-destructive impulses, even when the therapist is not around. After such a transference has developed, the amount of acting out actually does diminish. The girl acts out less because she feels that her therapist is preventing her from doing so; or, knowing that her therapist disapproves of certain behavior, she fears he or she will find out and “do something.” It is usually not clear just what her therapist will “do” about the behavior, but the psychotherapist is usually seen as an awesome but benevolent controller.


Adolescent Girl Therapy Session Dependent Relationship Dependent Transference Character Synthesis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Doris Lamb
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Southern California School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA

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