Transference: Loosening the Tie That Blinds

Sexual responsiveness is fundamentally instinctual. The basic attraction to others should not concern us. What we do with the attraction is what is important.
—Archibald Hart

If you were hungry for love, wouldn't it be nice to find someone who was educated, mannerly, articulate but also a good listener, respected in the community, occupationally powerful, yet unselfish and willing to spend time alone with you for free?

Numbers of counselees think so. They come to a church office and find themselves in the presence of the kindest, most receptive, admirable, gentle, wise person they've met in a long time. The solution to their turmoil, they gradually realize, is not so much what the pastor says as the pastor himself.

In the doctor of ministry classes I teach, I talk about this hazard, technically known as "transference" (the client projecting unmet feelings and desires into the counseling relationship, feelings and desires that belong somewhere else). The students each term write a response ...

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