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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Transference?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Transference

Approval and Disapproval of Prospective Partners by the Superego

Transference means relating to another as though they were a significant person from one's childhood, usually a parent. Often, the superego approves of the ego when the ego is attracted to someone reminiscent of the parent of the opposite sex. In other instances, the superego disapproves of the prospective partner unless the other person bears no resemblance to this parent because the other internalized parent disapproves. This possibility reflects a fear of castration.

Behaving Towards Another as if He or She is Your Mother

The world of appearance has a certain pattern or flavor for each of us. If you look at yourself over the span of your whole lifetime, you realize that although there have been changes, there are things that do not change. Certain patterns in the way you do things are always repeated; the same kinds of thoughts and preferences persist. You live in a certain groove, determined by your history, and that groove—your personal groove—does not change until its basis is gone. Its basis is the belief that appearance is reality. This belief is the ultimate basis of the existence of the personality and all its problems. You actually walk around believing that you are what you think you are; the only time you do not do this is in deep sleep. This belief has many levels. On the psychological level, whenever you are talking with someone, you behave towards that person as if he or she is your mother. This transference is a distortion; it is not true. But even when you see through the transference, you are assuming something else that might not be true: You are assuming that the other person is a person. You believe you are a person, you believe this is a chair, and this is a rug. You do not question these things. You assume that this is the real truth, the basic truth. But it is only the appearance.

Transference Occurs When Past Object Relations Are Activated

Thus transference occurs, in object relations terms, when past object relations are activated. However, it is not only in analysis or psychotherapy that these small units of object relations are activated. It happens for all egos at all times, and simply becomes apparent under scrutiny. As Freud first emphasized in The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, such transference is a normal everyday occurrence, not an isolated instance in analysis. Thus no interaction is ever absolutely in the present. The individual identifies with one image and projects the other image on the other person in the interaction. (Of course, all this occurs in the context of the overall sense of self constituted by the sum of the integrated images). The past is always present in the form of the object relations activated. In fact, the present is always perceived through whatever object relation -- whether it is an overall ego-identity or a more specific subject-object relation -- is active at the time.

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