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Individuals experience recurrent transference reactions, perceptions of others that, without the individual’s awareness, are influenced by feelings and responses originally experienced in relation to significant people from the past (usually parental figures). All relationships are a blend of realistic and transferential elements. Psychotherapy distinguishes itself by providing patients with ongoing opportunities to work through the transference and eventually experience the therapist as a “real person,” apart from transferential distortions.
There is a cliche that women patients invariably fall in love with their male therapists. This so-called love is usually depicted mockingly. Risking intimate exposure of the sexual and romantic feelings stimulated by the therapist’s caring concern may be the first step toward overcoming a chronic sense of alienation. “Mending” portrays, respectfully, the childhood origins, meanings, and consequences of a young woman’s felt need to be loved by her male therapist. We are given a sense of the skill and emotional maturity required to manage and harshness the healing potential of what is called the erotic transference. (23 pp.)