A very different life awaits the protagonist in this week’s Futures. In Transference, Jennifer Campbell-Hicks explores the difficulties posed by moving from your old body to a new one. When she’s not wrestling with such problems, you can find her in her original body writing.She has kindly volunteered to venture onto Future Conditional to explain the inspiration behind her new tale.
Transference is a phenomenon characterized by unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another. One definition of transference is “the inappropriate repetition in the present of a relationship that was important in a person’s childhood.” Another definition is “the redirection of feelings and desires and especially of those unconsciously retained from childhood toward a new object.”Still another definition is “a reproduction of emotions relating to repressed experiences, especially of childhood, and the substitution of another person … for the original object of the repressed impulses.”
One thing I’ve learned about writers: we love challenges. They stretch the brain muscles and help boost productivity. Transference came about from a challenge in a writers’ group to produce a flash-length story over one weekend, based on one of several prompts. The prompt I used: Someone made a bad decision, and someone else is paying the price.
Perception and misinterpretation
Transference is promoted by unconscious expectations and what we perceive will be coloured by our expectations. Thus, distortions may take place in the patient’s understanding of an interaction.
An in-patient has become very attached to the senior house officer (SHO) who has been seeing her weekly. She tells him that she feels very depressed because people do not like her when they get to know her. He says that perhaps she feels that way about him also and she agrees. He assures her that he really does like her.
Those in the writers’ group who read the story split about evenly in their reactions. Half thought the piece was hilarious. The other half thought it was terrifying. I have a sneaking suspicion that those who thought I had written a horror story are, for the most part, cat-lovers, not dog-lovers. For the record, I am both.