Transference-Focused Therapy: What Is It, Techniques, Uses, Benefits, And More
Transference-focused therapy (TFP) is a type of psychotherapy that uses the dynamics of the relationship to develop better relationships and a sense of self. This therapy is generally used to treat personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder (BPD), narcissistic personality disorder, and more.
In this blog, let us understand the principles, techniques, uses, benefits, limitations, and effectiveness of transference-focused therapy.
What is Transference-Focused Therapy?
Transference therapy is prescribed for treating personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder. Herein, transference stands for the theoretical process through which emotions are transferred. Transference is a form of psychodynamic concept that helps in understanding the childhood impact on relationship functioning.
Throughout the sessions, the therapist might understand the childhood interactions and help develop a sense of self. This helps in understanding and managing your emotions more realistically. Overall, this therapy helps in identifying problematic thoughts and developing healthy behaviors that directly improve social interactions.
Principles of Transference-Focused Therapy
Since the main element of TFP is transference. Transference is used to understand important aspects of life. The major goal of TFP is to apply transference and understand self-awareness and relationship styles so that healthy behaviors can be applied. Below are some of the major principles of TFP:
- Works on a person’s issues to build therapeutic rapport
- Works on reducing “black-and-white” thinking to create a positive outlook
- Works on developing a sense of self
- Works on modifying the personality to bring out positive outcomes
Techniques of Transference-Focused Therapy
According to the scheduling, clients might have to meet the therapist twice a week. During the session, a therapist might use different techniques to understand the transference or theory. Different techniques used during a TFP session involve:
- Assigning one positive activity for practical learning
- Building awareness related to problematic and destructive behaviors Creating trust between the client and therapist
- Establishing healthy boundaries to relate the symptoms
- Exploring emotions, sense of self, behavior patterns, and a person’s ability to understand and cope
- Focusing on one or more behaviors or relationships
- Improving behavior activation to create positive productivity and motivation
- Improving interactions and shifting emotional state to a positive one to relieve the symptoms
- Setting clear expectations and rules to avoid chaotic behaviors
- Reducing impulsive behaviors
- Working on disruptive behaviors to heal the underlying issues
Uses of Transference-Focused Therapy
TFP was specifically developed to treat borderline personality disorder and some of the techniques can also be applied for treating narcissistic personality disorder. The main use of TFP is to alter thoughts, emotions, and behaviors positively to promote a sense of self. TFP involves a relationship and structure-based approach that helps in enhancing the qualities. TFP can also be effectively used for treating personality disorders such as:
- Dependent personality disorder
- Histrionic personality disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
Additionally, the techniques of TFP are also used for treating other conditions and issues such as:
- Improving emotional regulation
- Improving social relationships and interactions
- Reducing specific symptoms such as impulsivity, anger, or irritability
- Working on specific symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Working on suicidal ideation or self-harm
Benefits & Limitations of Transference-Focused Therapy
Research is very limited in terms of benefits and limitations and some points were debatable. However, I have compared some studies and approaches to determine the benefits and limitations.
Here are some benefits of TFP:
- TFP helps people identify their internal thoughts leading to negative or harmful behaviors
- TFP allows people to understand thoughts and emotions in a better way
- TFP helps people to integrate different positive thoughts in such a way that it promotes a sense of self
- TFP promotes active engagement throughout the treatment
- TFP set clear rules and expectations to encourage engagement with the outside world as well
- TFP helps in integrating the bad and good sides of things
Here are some limitations of TFP:
- TFP lacks focus on the past and can cause harm to the management of childhood abuse
- TFP focuses on building individual-therapy contracts increasing the chances of limiting a person’s own exploration
- Treatment rules require additional sources and support such as support groups, group therapy, and others
What happens during Transference-Focused Therapy?
Well, you might be thinking what exactly happens during a TFP session, let me explain the process… during the beginning, your therapist might work to establish a connection and informed consent through talk therapy. Generally, a therapist divides the phases into two parts which help in weaving the treatment together. The two phases of TFP are:
1. Establishing trust:
During this phase, the therapist works on guiding future boundaries and sessions that help in breaking destructive behaviors.
2. Exploring sense of identity:
During the second phase, the therapist works on revisiting the client’s mind, sense of self, emotions, and behavioral patterns
I hope this blog helps you understand transference-focused therapy. For more such content, connect with us through all social media platforms.