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Joseph, B. (1985). Transference: The Total Situation. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 66:447-454.

(1985). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 66:447-454

Transference: The Total Situation

Betty Joseph

My intention in this paper is to discuss how we are using the concept of transference in our clinical work today. My stress will be on the idea of transference as a framework, in which something is always going on, where there is always movement and activity.

Freud's ideas developed from seeing transference as an obstacle, to seeing it as an essential tool of the analytic process, observing how the patient's relationships to their original objects were transferred, with all their richness, to the person of the analyst. Strachey (1934), using Melanie Klein's discoveries on the way in which projection and introjection colour and build up the individual's inner objects, showed that what is being transferred is not primarily the external objects of the child's past, but the internal objects, and that the way that these objects are constructed help us to understand how the analytic process can produce change.

Melanie Klein, through her continued work on early object relationships and early mental mechanisms, perhaps particularly projective identification, extended our understanding of the nature of transference and the process of transferring. In her (1952) paper 'The origins of transference' she wrote: 'It is my experience that in unravelling the details of the transference it is essential to think in terms of total situations transferred from the past into the present as well as emotion defences and object relations'. She went on to describe how for many years transference had been understood in terms of direct references to the analyst, and how only later had it been realized that, for example, such things as reports about everyday life, etc.

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