Wednesday, August 8, 2012

ON FREUDIAN TRANSFERENCE.

Dr.John is a 34 year old analyst who is very fit, agile and good looking. A tendency to mouth platitudes is an inveterate part of his repertoire. When he smiles, his lower molar, on the right, is awry. But this incongruity enhances his handsomeness, lending to it an air of ambiguity. My first session with him is a blur but i do recall hanging on to his every word like a drowning person clinging tenaciously to a spar of wood. I am, it seems, trying to wrest from his cornucopia of aphorisms a remnant of a personal mnemonic to hold on to. And over the course of the next few sessions my self pity and helpless are the predominant feature of our colloquy. As an interlocutor he has moments of zoning out, disconnecting and then re establishing the thread of conversation. It is an anomaly, this drifting off but it is too imperceptible to my consciousness to register as being disquieting.

The therapeutic balance is clearly conventional except for his habit of doling out inspirational tidbits from his life to demonstrate the achieving of goals despite obstacles. These snippets of his life are  narrated in an offhand, matter of fact voice which don't detonate but lend an unnaturalness because the stem not from humility but from an ineffectually concealed egotism. After a few months i leave his therapy.

After seeing a woman therapist for the next 4 months and getting better i am assailed by a yearning to go back to Dr. John. Therapeutically the reasons are unformed and unconvincing because the possibility of any change in status quo is unthinkable. Yet the irreconcilability of effectiveness is inversely proportional to a nascent, burgeoning need. And the need is clearly transference of the most banal of forms i.e physical.

Clearly i am attracted, always was but suppressed and the need to reconnect belies any rationalizations that may be promulgated. . And i do go back but the dynamics have changed. No longer am i the hapless, vulnerable patient regaling him with the interminable tale of my woes but a self aware , intelligent, psychologically erudite person engaging in a dialogue, in counter discourse. His freudian inferences are counteracted by my equal knowledge of Jung, Adler, Melanie Klein. Whether i possess it or not i demonstrate a psychoanalytic percipience that charms, beguiles and impresses him. I am now an equal and he is really bewitched by my intelligence. He palpably gives me preference and enjoys my company. The therapy sessions are an intellectual thrashing out of ideas and my principle desire is to stamp my presence. Yet this fusillade of knowledge is prompted by need, desire than to  show off. The need is inadmissible and he seems unaware of it, indeed even acknowledging its possibility is anathema to him. The need grows stronger, he permeates my dreams, my nocturnal fantasies. And the effort of dissimulation, becomes trying and exhausting. I plunge into another episode of depression and fearful of exposure yet unable to conceal i unceremoniously quit the therapy again.

The transference was clearly both ways. He sought and found in me someone to relieve the unceasing tedium of human suffering that inundated him everyday. I am the welcoming reprieve, the receptacle of compassion, intelligence that he yearns for. Yet the personas we pot on, the dissembling we engage in is constituted by a fundamental falsity. It is inauthentic and a willed refutation, complicitous of our real selves. For the transference to work, mutual self deception was an inescapable corollary. It could have taken other forms, morphed unidentifiably into something unforeseen. The decision to leave was the bulwark of sanity. I'm glad i left.