Experiments on transference in interpersonal relations: Implications for treatment

Susan M. Andersen, Elizabeth Przybylinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ordinary interpersonal encounters with new people involve more than what meets the eye, and transference readily arises in such encounters, affecting everyday social perception and interpersonal responding, as well as perceptions of the self. Transference provides a mechanism whereby past relationships can play out in new ones. Research on the social-cognitive process of transference and the relational self clearly shows that transference occurs as a "normal" nonclinical process outside of the therapy setting. In this article, we review the theoretical framework and research approach to understanding transference, as well as what the evidence says about what triggers transference, how, why, and what the consequences of transference are as they occur, for better or for worse, in the context of daily living and in treatment. The clinical implications of the findings are also addressed, with a focus on how problematic transference patterns might be changed if they lead to personal suffering for the individual.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-383
Number of pages14
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Cognitive therapy
  • Interpersonal psychotherapy
  • Significant others
  • Social cognition
  • Transference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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