Transference and the Unconscious

Freud was also the first to understand and describe the concept of transference, the patient's positive or negative feelings that develop toward the therapist during the long, intimate process of analysis. These feelings often relate to earlier ones that the patient has had for significant others: namely, mother, father, or sibling. The analysis of transference has become extremely important to neo-Freudian analysts, particularly as it relates to the treatment of borderline and other personality disturbances.

Another aspect of Freud's legacy involves the many theoretical constructs that psychoanalysis has generated. Among these is the concept of the unconscious. Freud provided many everyday examples of the operation of the unconscious as he described slips of the tongue and other phenomena. He was convinced that such slips, now known as "Freudian slips," were not accidental at all but somehow expressed unconscious wishes, thoughts, or desires. For example, the woman who loses her wedding ring wishes she had never had it.

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