Our expert says:
I think transference, or something rather like it, is a POTENTIAL factor in many therapist / patient interactions, not only those involving psychiatrists - I've seen it arise with gtnaes, oncologists, and so on.
As you imply, IF it arises that's not in itself anything to blame either party for - HOW it's handled, primarily by the therapist ( who holds most of the cards and initiative ) is important, and if it is badly handled, then that is unprofessional and blameworthy.
Speifically with reference to psychotherapy, if the doc doesn't know how to recognize and handle transference, then he should stop doing psychotherapy until he has been properly trained.
Otherwise, it's like someone practising surgery who is phobic about blood.
When transference issues ( and counter-transference isues ) arise, a properly trained professional ought to be able to recognize what's happening, and know how to deal with it properly. This would either include using it within therapy ( including disussing the issue frankly with the patient ) and working through its related issues ; or if for some reason, including counter-transference isues the therapist can't handle well, negotiating a graceful end of the therapy AND transferring the patient to a different therapist to continue and finish the original tasks of therapy.
One of the reasons I prefer, on the whole, shorter and more reality-oriented therapies like CBT is that there are less opportunities for transference problems to arise, and it is easier to transfer someone in mid-therapy should this be needed.
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