Transference in view of a classical conditioning model

Merav Rabinovich, Lea Kacen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-223
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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