Managing Multiple Transferences from a Self-Psychology Perspective: A Case Study of an Older Adult

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Kathryn Barrs, Psy.D.

Second Advisor

Hale Martin, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Trey Cole, Psy.D.


Transference, Self-psychology

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


Transference is a common theme in psychotherapy and is frequently viewed as an integral part of the therapeutic relationship, particularly in psychodynamic therapies. The concept of multiple levels of transference refers to the psychotherapist embodying multiple figures from the patient’s past experience. Older adult patients may be more likely to experience a greater number and variety of transferences given older patients’ longer and more varied life experiences. Managing these multiple transferences may prove challenging for psychotherapists. Self-psychology, with its tripolar categorization of self-object needs and emphasis on empathetic attunement within the therapeutic relationship, can provide an effective framework for managing multiple transferences. This paper examines a case study of an older adult patient and her multiple transferences with her therapist through the lens of self-psychology.


38 pgs

Paper Method

Case Study

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