Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Benjamin Beit-HallahmiEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_707

The idea of transference is at the center of the classical psychoanalytic theory of object relations. Early object relations patterns, formed by our experiences within the family, become consolidated and remain relatively fixed throughout adult life. They are revealed as emotional reactions in interpersonal situations which are highly intense and realistically speaking quite improper. Any strong emotional reaction formed quickly in an interpersonal encounter, such as love or hate at first sight, represent a transference reaction, i.e., a reaction to a present object which is in reality an acting out of a childhood reaction to one’s parents or other close figures.

Sigmund Freud claimed to have discovered transference through the practice of psychotherapy according to his/her technique of psychoanalysis. He reported that those being analyzed by him were not ready to regard the analyst merely, and realistically, as a helper and adviser. The analysand sees in the analyst “the return, the...

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  1. Freud, S. (1912/1958). The dynamics of transference. In The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 12, pp. 97–108). London: Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  2. Freud, S. (1940/1977). An outline of psychoanalysis. In The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 23, pp. 139–207). London: Hogarth Press.Google Scholar

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael