What did we learn from the dora case? Transference and countertransference in the dyadic relationship

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Csibi, Edina
Issue Date
Higher Diploma in Arts in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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Transference was discovered by Freud, through working with his patients. However, it took a failed case to recognize its power on the therapeutic relationship. In his famous Dora case, he didn’t recognize the transferences at play, and it led to his patient stopping therapy, as revenge. However, through this case Freud realized that the analyst plays a role, he is more than just a passive object. What he did not recognize at the time was his own unresolved countertransferential issues, which can become an obstacle in helping the suffering person. Today it is recognized that transference and countertransference are part of the therapeutic relationship, and are interconnected, inseparable. Some therapies, including humanistic therapies don’t work with transference, there is more emphasis placed on the therapist’s own countertransference, how to manage it, and how to learn about the patient.