Study The Guilty Pleasure of Countertransference


Found this article from a journal called “Studies in Gender and Sexuality.” It’s by a psychoanalyst on her experiences with countertransference. I deal with ET and this helped me see the concept from a broader perspective.


Found this article from a journal called “Studies in Gender and Sexuality.” It’s by a psychoanalyst on her experiences with countertransference. I deal with ET and this helped me see the concept from a broader perspective.
Hi @OliveJewel ,
sorry I don’t know what ET is. I’ve been trying to think of some possibilities, but I just keep coming back to the ET movie, and I suspect you really don’t mean extraterrestrial?
I have a degree in psychology…

edit: I’ve now looked at the article, a.though I found it hard to digest. Should have done that before I posted. I am now assuming you mean Erotic Transference …


i did a casual search for the article and it turns out "gender and sexuality" has had quite allot of study. no big surprise there. a brief scan of a few of the studies didn't reveal what ET is. i'm pretty sure you weren't referring to the stephen spielberg classic.

broader perspectives can be helpful.


@Lucycat yes that’s it. Agree there were parts that were off-putting, but the overall concept of finding a balance for it rather than running from it helps me tolerate it more. Also the idea that a therapist might find personal value in that helps me accept myself.

I have found a lot of conflicting information about countertransference. I imagine a lot of things about it and find very little that is helpful. It is interesting to hear a therapist’s perspective.

I know that talking to my therapist about it is important, but… umm… it’s hard! I mean, I have talked about it, but I always take care and don’t push.

I especially appreciated the anecdote about when she had a sex dream about her therapist and then was so excited to tell him but ended up zoning out while driving, missed the turn, and was so late that she had no time to talk about it.

Because it seems like every time between sessions I imagine myself talking straightforward about sex and then when I’m there I’m just crying about my past—which is great—but I wonder about how I will face the ET.

My T has told me repeatedly that the ET will work itself out. Which sounds to me like “don’t talk about it,” but I’m pretty sure that’s not what she means, rather, “Don’t worry about it, and talk about it if you want.”

I just can’t yet. But articles like the one I linked help me think that there’s a chance I can get through it without bailing or denying myself. I guess it’s like exposure—bit by bit.

Somehow the idea that the therapist might be able to turn the countertransference into a positive experience for their self helped me imagine that I’m not so repulsive for having it and gave me a bit of courage.

@arfie tiny digression: is that a mini donkey on your profile picture? I’ve been trying to figure it out for a while now 😅.
I've had a lot of experience with erotic transference with my own therapist and I'm happy I don't have to deal with it anymore. But it was very instructive in showing me that my T was not going to run for the hills and even though I was sexually attracted to her, I didn't have to make a big deal out of it.
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To be perfectly honest, once we talked about it, I realized that it was a very natural thing. She's young and attractive and she listens to me without judgement when I talk about sex. Considering all that, I realized that it would probably be strange if, as a man, I didn't get some kind of erotic feelings for her. I also realized that I didn't want to relate to her in that way - she is far, far more helpful to me as a therapist than she ever could be as a sex partner, which obviously wasn't going to happen anyway.


I had to take some time to read and digest that artit, bit thank you for sharing @OliveJewel .
Some bits were a bit jarring for me (might just be my head space), but I like how she normalises it.
I've still not been brave enough to talk about ET with my T, but can see myself building up to it soon.

I agree with you, Google searching things about transference, of any type, comes up with quite a lot that seems blaming and negative and just not helpful.

I need to figure out how to share an article on here but I have book marked a webpage that I found super helpful about all aspects of transference and countertransference.


I have book marked a webpage
Posting a link is always acceptable. If you can do that, that's a good way to share.
You can also post a link and copy paste some short sections (formatted as quotes, check out the Quoting section of the Help Pages). The link serves as a citation to the main body of the work- but the quoted content needs to stay brief; and if you want to, you can always run things by staff by posting them to Contact Us (where you won't be given any kind of warning for breaking rules)

I read the study also - it was interesting, though it was also HIGHLY specific to Psychoanalysis, Freud-style. A relatively narrow margin of the overall field of psychology, and one that requires there be transference within the work, as part of the process. It also requires the analyst to be minimal in their comments to the client.

Freudian psychoanalysts are a bit known for their "navel-gazing" tendencies, and they are often obsessed with their own field (Psychoanalysis). So, it was interesting to wonder if her perspective in writing this paper would translate to a non-Freud-based, something more psychodynamic, or even more specifically different, like Gestalt.


It also requires the analyst to be minimal in their comments to the client.
Interesting. My T practices Transactional Analysis. She provides a fair amount of feedback and shares some personal stories, unlike an analyst. I see her every fortnight, whereas an analyst could be five days a week.

Interesting how you classify therapy as Freudian or non-Freudian and link those with transference-required or transference-optional. I still don’t understand how someone can do therapy without transference. If it’s all theory and logic then that’s learning, in my mind, rather than healing, and to me therapy is about healing attachment patterns. I think I’ve just created a new thread, “How can a person do therapy without transference?”

I’m wondering if the transference occurs even if both provider and client deny it. Wait, I think I remember the answer. Transference occurrence is a given, but whether the provider chooses to work with it, as a tool or reference, depends on their schooling and perspective which can be Freudian or non-Freudian. Is that accurate?