Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Psychol. 2012 Summer;125(2):209-23.

Transference in view of a classical conditioning model.

Author information

Spitzer Department of Social Work, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Metar, Israel.


This article presents a qualitative metasynthetic study, addressing 33 transference case studies, that investigates the interrelationship of the transference concept from psychoanalysis and cognitive-behavioral concepts in an attempt to construct a theoretical platform for clinical integration. Relationship between categories analysis was used to compare Luborsky's (1998) transference components (wish, response from other, and response of self) and cognitive-behavioral ones. Results showed reciprocal relations between transference and classical conditioning. Furthermore, explicit occurrences of distorted thinking due to overgeneralization were found in more than 90% of the cases. A conceptual model describes transference as a conditioned response activated by thematic conditioning, a particular case of classical conditioning that repeatedly pairs a given interpersonal situation with internal thematic stimuli, thus shaping the person's narrative. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed as well.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center