Glossary

T is for…

Transference

In lesson 26 of Luis Ammann's Self Liberation we read:

The objective of the transferential works is to integrate mental contents. Transferential practices do not work the same as cathartic practices by discharging tensions towards the outside world; rather, they work by transferring charges from one content to another in the consciousness in order to balance one's system of thinking, one's mental "scene." In reality, the consciousness is continuously transferring charges from one content to another. But for various reasons, at times certain contents remain isolated and produce dissociations.

From the psychological point of view, human life should naturally consist of a progressive integration of contents. In this sense, the transference as a technique is intended to assist this normal process that takes place in the consciousness but is sometimes affected by accidental dissociations.
Just as there are natural cathartic expressions, there are also natural tranferential operations that occur in dreams, reveries, artistic activities, making love, and in religious experiences. Here we are not defining these activities by their transferential nature, rather we are explaining that transferences do occur in them. In paradoxical sleep (sleep with dreams or images), transferences occur which integrate and order contents, the events of the day are reorganized in the memory, tensions are relieved, and the body rests. Thus, sleep serves many functions, one of which is transferential.

Many cathartic phenomena allow transferences to occur by relieving overcharges that were blocking the transference. Conversely, transferential phenomena may free remaining overcharges which are then expressed cathartically. Although they fulfill different functions, catharsis and transference often act concomitantly. Later we will see that in cases of excessive tension, it is necessary to produce cathartic discharges before beginning the transferential work. We will also see that there are circumstances in which a cathartic reaction is not opportune because it would take away the necessary charge from the contents we wish to integrate.