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Elkan, I. (1984). Transference and Countertransference in an Applied Setting — Education. J. Child Psychother., 10(2):233-237.

(1984). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 10(2):233-237

Transference and Countertransference in an Applied Setting — Education

Irmi Elkan


Creative thinkers in the field of education (Froebel, Pestalozzi, Whitehead; Homer Lane in this country, August Aichhorn in Vienna) recognised and wrote about the importance of predominantly positive relationships between pupils and teachers in the school or college environment. If optimum development of gifts and abilities and true learning is to take place, the educator must inspire confidence in his knowledge and personal integrity and he must find ways of creating in the classroom an atmosphere of pleasurable expectation and enthusiasm. Every teacher knows this from personal experience and he also knows that he rarely succeeds in evoking positive transference feelings in every pupil. Nor is it possible for a teacher to feel positively towards every individual he teaches. However, the onus for insight and proper emotional control of the situation rests fairly and squarely with the educator. Regardless of their chronological ages in any given educational setting the teacher is felt to be and is in reality in the stronger position. He represents authority — the parents of the past or present. It is he who must be aware of extraneous emotional elements that may enter and distort the educational partnership, thus impeding its smooth functioning. The disruptive factors may be over-positive or too negative feelings in either partner showing that transference and/or countertransference are getting out of hand.

Whilst the educational contract differs in significant respects from the therapeutic one, it too requries an objective stance and the avoidance of non-relevant emotional involvement.

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