The therapist's love
MetadataShow full metadata
This dissertation explores the ways in which the therapist’s love is described in psychoanalytic literature and the value of this for clinical work. The methodology used is a modified systematic literature review with clinical illustrations. Whereas love in the therapy relationship initially tended to be described from the patient’s perspective, that is, ‘transference love’, there has been a move towards also considering the phenomenon of the therapist’s love. This has occurred within the context of increasing relationality and intersubjectivity, and includes but is not limited to issues of countertransference. The way that the therapist’s love is described in the literature is shown to fall into three broad areas: ‘parental love’, sexual love and Eros, and a type of love that is particular to the therapy relationship (love as a “thing unto itself”). Each of these areas is described and discussed in relation to a clinical vignette. It is proposed that the therapist’s love is essential in the therapy, and that, given the asymmetrical nature of the therapy relationship, the therapist has particular responsibilities to bear in mind.