I had to deal with a young boy, Mike. He was aggressive and very argumentative. After several sessions with him, I found a certain behavioral pattern. I found him feeling insecure, maybe because I am sort of an authoritative therapist. I tried to sort out if he responded to all authority figures the same way and why exactly he responded so. Sometimes, he reacted so differently and sweet that I could sense that he is not responding in the actual way he feels but is trying to please me to get praise.
This difference and extremities in reactions made me get an idea that there was something wrong in his relationships because he was behaving with me just like he had been behaving with a significant other. The challenge for me was to find out what the problem was. I found out that he had an authoritative father who had been influencing his life. The unconscious and conscious memories of his authoritative father made him react in the same way as he had been reacting toward him. It had become his second nature to show aggressiveness and irritability toward all authoritative figures.
Sometimes he acted artificially sweet giving an idea that he wanted praise, the praise which he had longed to get from his father. The transference relationship that he had developed with me helped me figure out the distortion in his relationship with a significant person in his life. Counter-transference involves the intuition, feelings, attitude, and behavior that the therapist shows in reaction to the client’ s experiences. The stimulation in the therapist’ s mood, for example, the excitement, curiosity, anger or sympathy, whatever arouses in the therapist is what we call counter-transference.
The therapist must be well tuned to recognize this stimulation within him and must be able to figure out if this stimulation is coming from the client or is arising from within. While I was having therapy sessions with Mike, I found out a behavioral pattern within myself which I would call counter-transference.
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