Oakland Therapist Malpractice Attorney | Transference & Counter-Transference

Transference is the process by which a psychotherapy patient transfers feelings and perceptions for people in his or her past (e.g., parents, close friends and significant others) onto the psychotherapist. The process is unconscious and results in a situation in which the patient relates to the therapist in a way that is similar to how the patient related to others in these close relationships in the past.

It is a process that is used to help the patient, but it also puts the therapist in a position of great power and control over the patient. It can easily lead down a path of dependency, abuse and long-term injuries if the therapist is not careful.

Winer, McKenna & Burritt, LLP, is a law firm with extensive experience in cases involving therapist abuse. In a free consultation, an attorney can review your situation and explain how we can help you. Call (510) 433-1000 today.

What Is Transference, And How Is It Used In Psychotherapy?

The patient reveals deeply hidden secrets to the therapist in this process because such a high level of trust has been established. As a result, the power differential between patient and therapist is stark, and the patient is placed in a very vulnerable state.

Boundaries are often weakened and easily broken. Abuse of transference may involve improper prescription of drugs, a sexual relationship, psychological abuse, sexual abuse or other physical abuse.

What Is Counter-Transference In Therapist Abuse Case?

Therapists may bring their own issues with parents or significant others into therapy sessions. Doing so while sharing perceptions and feelings related to their personal issues is usually a breach of the duty of care under California law.

Therapists are trained to recognize this phenomenon, referred to as counter-transference, in which they transfer their perceptions and feelings onto the patient. However, just like transference, counter-transference is an unconscious process. It may be difficult for the therapist to recognize when counter-transference occurs initially, but that is no excuse for violating professional therapist-patient boundaries.

Under no circumstances should a therapist act on counter-transference issues or violate professional boundaries verbally, physically or sexually. Therapists have a responsibility for patients’ emotional and psychological care and advancement.

When a therapist takes advantage of the transference or counter-transference phenomenon by engaging in an unprofessional relationship in therapy sessions or outside therapy, it is known as “abuse of transference” or “professional incest.”

A business, personal or sexual relationship or otherwise exploitative situation may result from the abuse of transference. In any case, our San Francisco transference abuse lawyers can work to prove the intense effects of transference and the injuries you have suffered under the will of an abuser. We work to show that the relationship could not have been consensual under such extreme circumstances.

Experienced Oakland Therapist Malpractice Lawyers Prepared To Help You

Contact us at (510) 433-1000 to schedule a free initial consultation with a lawyer in San Francisco, Oakland or the Los Angeles area. We represent clients throughout California.