Regarding Managing Erotic and Eroticized Transference


In their article, “Recognizing and Managing Erotic and Eroticized Transferences” [Psychiatry 2007;4(4):47–50], Drs. Ladson and Welton should tell the readers whether their ideas apply to psychotherapy in general or only to psychotherapy methods derived from psychoanalytic theory.

With the exception of their single statement that does refer to “psychodynamically based psychotherapy,” Drs. Ladson and Welton refer generically to “psychotherapy,” or the even more vague “therapy,” as though the concepts of transference and countertransference are part of the terminology of all psychotherapies, when in fact they apply, at least as defined therein, only to psychotherapy methods derived from psychoanalytic theory. For example, the notion of transference is not used in cognitive behavioral or systemic psychotherapies.

No one would deny that patients and psychotherapists have feelings about each other regardless of the method of treatment. The need to judge whether such feelings are “irrationally intense” and then focus on “understanding” them as an essential component of the treatment, however, is peculiar to methods derived from psychoanalytic theory. The approach outlined by the authors to dealing with so-called “unrealistic” feelings may be considered irrelevant, impossible, or even counterproductive in other psychotherapies.

When authors discuss concepts peculiar to methods derived from psychoanalytic theory, they should refer to them as such either in the title, in the text, or both.