Monday, August 07, 2006

Transference To The Blog

In psychodynamic psychotherapies, the concept of Transference pertains to the patient's tendency to impose feelings and reactions from past relationships onto the therapist. The process is, by definition, unconscious and the patient is initially unaware that s/he is doing this. Put more simply, the patient comes to the relationship primed to repeat significant relationships from the past (hmm, was that more simple?). Okay, if you hated your mother you might find yourself hating your therapist (--that's better, right?). The concept of counter-transference involves the same process when the doctor unconsciously imposes feelings and reactions from his past relationships onto the patient. So, if you hated your mother, you might find yourself hating your patients. It's a complicated issue because in addition to the transference, there's the Real relationship: if you hate your psychiatrist because he really is a jerk, it's not transference and sometimes the definitions get a bit liquid. I'm not a psychoanalyst; if you are, please feel free to fix my simplified explanations.

Since I've joined Blog-o-Land (aka the blogsphere), I've been struck by the fact that so many people use their blogs as both therapy substitutes (--hey, if it works, I'm all for it) while others use their blogs to talk about their psychotherapy sessions and their psychiatrists-- kind of like therapy for the therapy. For example, in her blog "Alone--just a way to get my feelings out and cope"--writes about The Psychiatrist That Pushed Me Over The Edge. (Taken from Grand Rounds 245)

Now people don't just write about their psychiatrists, their therapy sessions, the events of their day, and the associations they have to a variety of things, on their blogs, they write about it in the comment section of other people's blogs, including right here at Shrink Rap. Over time, there develops some Back & Forth (right, Foo?) and I've come to wonder if there might be a reportable phenomena of Tranference To The Blog.

Transference To The Blog might be a rather confusing phenomena. Would the transference be to the blog itself (the ultimate so-called blank screen ripe for projection), or to the authors? So does ClinkShrink evoke pleasant memories of that kindly lady warden from days of old? And what about Roy, the scattered intellectual who loves the ironic (Do I have you right, Roy?) and uses the same phrases as old Aunt Tillie? I really don't want to know what feelings I evoke, especially not after my "What's in a Name" post.

And while I'm at it, what about counter-transference to the blog by the authors? How do we feel about our regular commenters? And if they have their own blogs, then is it Transference or is it Counter-Transference? So, Dr. A, you didn't even comment on my post "Ranting on Dr. A's blog" or give an opinion on What's in A Name? that linked to you. Were you ignoring me? Are you mad? How dare you! My Uncle Rupert used to do the exact same thing when I was a small child. (oops, no Uncle Rupert, but you get the point and now even I am confabulated).

Okay, I'm just using Dr. A as an example-- he made himself an easy target when he vanished for a bit. But you get the point. And Fat Doctor, the kid's not going to be a drug addict if you don't make him eat asparagus, unless he would have been one anyway. I don't think. My mother never made me eat stuff I didn't like; maybe that's the problem. And Foofoo: how can you not wonder about a man named Foofoo who wields the power to have have your jail term extended for 3 months if you curse at him: the ultimate mean daddy. And Dr. Crippen's got to be old, right, with a name like Dr. Crippen? Flea, I'm not so sure about, but I think he, Turboglacier (of May Shrink and Fade) and Dr. A are younger than I am, but who knows. SHP, a bit like my little cousin (oops, I'm the youngest of my cousins). I'm only picking on the doctor bloggers, but rest assured, if you're in my blog-o-land, I may be thinking about you.

And how does that make you feel?