07/25/2024, 15:31, Vienna  DEUTSCH / ENGLISH

Keep me logged in

Ask our psychoanalyst!

We are happy to announce the launch of our new column "On the Couch" with the psychoanalyst Michaela Heger, where our readers can ask questions and receive professional advice. You are welcome to submit theoretical questions as well as personal concerns. Mag. Michaela Heger-Holeschofsky will answer your questions – including those submitted by children and adolescents – to the best of her knowledge. The column’s goal is to make psychoanalysis accessible to a wider, psychoanalytically interested audience. We look forward to your submissions! Send an email to office@theviennapsychoanalyst.at

LETTER to Mag. Heger-Holeschofsky dated 01/28/2019:

Dear Mag. Heger-Holeschofsky

How do psychoanalysts, and therapists in general, deal with transference and countertransference? How does it affect the therapeutic process?

Thank you
Peter K.,31, from Zurich, Switzerland


Transference and countertransference are important elements in the psychoanalytic process. The transfer reveals the patient´s conflicts, the therapist reacts via countertransference to this transference with his own feelings and expectations. By interpreting the countertransference feelings, the therapist is more involved and the relationship level in the therapy is strengthened. Of course there is a certain risk to bring in one´s own feelings as a therapist as one leaves the neutral position. However, since psychotherapy/psychoanalysis considers the patient´s interpersonal relationships extensively, a direct examination of the countertransference is an important part of psychotherapy. This enables the patient to work through his/her conflicts. Before the therapist can introduce his feelings of countertransference into the therapy, there should be a certain foundation between the patient and the therapist so that the interpretation can be accepted. One must develop a feeling for when countertransference interpretations are important and when the patient, for example, would be overwhelmed by them. At the beginning of one’s psychotherapeutic career, a therapist might be a little more reserved with regard to this kind of interpretation. In any case, it is always important to perceive the patient’s feelings of countertransference and transmission, and to incorporate this knowledge into the treatment.

LETTER to Mag. Heger-Holeschofsky dated 08/31/2018:

Dear Mrs. Heger,

my message or question is addressed to you as part of The Vienna Psychoanalyst’s series s "On the Couch”.

I am female, 34, married. Since my youth, I have had arousing  sexual fantasies, in which I am raped by one, or sometimes several men - I dream about it at night and sometimes in my daydreams. At sometimes I masturbate to it, often not very thoughtfully. When I think about it in retrospect, I find the process  repugnant and incomprehensible. However, I cannot stop it, or design another “movie” in my head. This preference does not transmit to my real sex life, yet being humiliated still excites me more to than vanilla sex.

Maybe I should mention that I grew up in a violent home; Caresses and violence often went hand in hand when it come to my mother. As far as sexuality at home goes, as a child I learned (too) much, which I found repulsive, which was probably one of the reason why I had been reluctant to enter a relationship until I was 20.
Honestly, it would be a relief to me if you could give me some answers (even if you do not publish it), because - even if it may sound very boring and clichéd - the issue still bothers me deeply. (I have a longer psychoanalytic treatment behind me (and I think a great deal about psychoanalysis) which unfortunately ended because my psychoanalyst stopped it, and I didn’t have the chance to answer the questions I had. For my psychoanalyst, the thing was very clear: the fantasies were caused by my mother’s sexual abuse.)

Thank you, if only for reading!
MZV (from Heidelberg Germany)


Dear Mrs. MZV,

Thank you very much for the detailed description of your issue.

I can well imagine that this is a stressfull subject for you. These feelings are certainly not clichéd, since they are about your personal feelings.

As you wrote, you grew up in a violent home without clear boundaries. You have witnessed too much, so you are now turning the feelings you perceive as repulsive against yourself. This repulsion is expressed by the fantasies of rape, which bring you lust, but also disturb you. This mechanism is a form of processing these experiences. I see the aborted analysis as an open subject that should still be worked on. Maybe you should think about starting psychoanalysis again? According to the interpretation of your psychoanalyst, your fantasies emerged through sexual abuse by you mother. This is one part of the entire spectrum, and it is also about the generally sexually charged atmosphere, in which you grew up. Further steps are necessary to process your past and integrate it into your ego as part of yourself. This might help you to gradually change the pictures in your head.

Sigmund Freud Museum SFU Belvedere 21er haus stuhleck kunsthalle
warda network orange