The following reflective activities are used when there’s a difficulty with transference: post shift debriefs, personal reflections, team meetings, frequent supervision, reflective practice groups, one-to-ones with another staff member.
It’s essential for staff to understand how each young person relates to individual members of the multidisciplinary team and to explore this on an on-going basis. Having a good grasp of concepts such as transference and projection is important.
Transference and counter-transference are particularly significant concepts in the area of psychoanalysis and psychodynamic counselling and psychotherapy. We all have a template or a central relationship pattern that serves as a prototype or a schema for shaping subsequent relationships. This phenomenon is termed ‘transference’. Past relational experiences are transferred onto the present.
Transference is a form of projection: an aspect of a person’s internal world is projected onto an external person, and then that external person is treated as though they are exhibiting the aspect. Transference is characterised by inappropriate or unrealistic feelings. Occasionally, a child will tell us we are like Mummy or Daddy. More often, the transference is acted out behaviourally and/or communicated through image, story and play.
This transference relationship runs alongside the real relationship and as the work progresses there will hopefully be a gradual experience that the past does not necessarily need to be repeated in the present. Contemporary thinking, in child therapy, is that often it is more therapeutic to think about the transference and discuss it in supervision rather than directly refer to it with the child. This is known as working with the transference.
Source: Therapy with Children and Young People: Integrative Counselling in Schools and other Settings,
by McLaughlin & Holliday