countertransference and schizophrenia


Written on Sunday, January 04, 2009 by haleigh

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

Countertransference is the dirty word of therapy. Professors during undergrad would throw it around as a threat. According to Wikipedia (dear god I'm quoting wikipedia), it can include a therapist transferring their emotions to the patient, or worse, "cases where the therapist literally takes on the suffering of his/her patient. In the most extreme of cases, it can result in the therapist taking on the neurosis or psychosis of the patient, such as bouts of paranoia or psychotic intervals, illustrated by Jung in the case of schizophrenia."

I think we need a word in writing for countertransference. Or maybe there is one and I just don't know it yet.

The reason I've come to this conclusion? Because over the course of one week working on my new MS, I've become desperate to become a pilot.

That's right, I, who gets ill every time I'm in a plane that lands (so, all planes....thank god), have decided that in my "spare time," I should take flying lessons and buy myself a Cessna 172 Skyhawk.

I was a bit startled by this revelation (I mean, wow, I've uncovered a secret, deep-set desire to defy the laws of gravity and soar into the sunset) until I remembered that while writing my last MS, I was tempted to throw it all away to become an investigative journalist.

Anyone else noticing a theme here? It seems that I like to take on the characteristics of my heroine. I mean, I know we all inadvertanly transfer our own emotions, values, nuerosis, etc. onto our characters, but I'm managing to take on their characteristics?? They're not real!! I made them up!

So far it's only my heroines, and only their career options, so maybe I'm safe from becoming a scizhophrenic like poor Jung up there. And I wonder if it's only the heroine's because I can relate better to women, or because all of my hero's so far have obscure job titles like "super-secret uber bad-ass," the likes of which, I am clearly not. Though I will admit to making plans with a friend to go to a firing range and take "learn all about handguns" class. But that's just good research. Right?

I even went so far in my "countertransference" to check how much, exactly, flying lessons would cost me. Not as much, actually, as you might think. I might even be able to swing a lesson or two.

Oh god, somebody stop me now. In my next book, the heroine's going to be a secretary.

Anybody else have this problem? Or am I clearly on the road to schizophrenia and still in denail? Any tips for picking normal jobs for your characters? Anybody else walking the fine line between research and crazy?

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  1. Marnee Jo |

    LOL! I didn't have a problem with my first book because she was a Regency English witch and I don't think I could have stretched far enough to believe that I could work magic. (though DH insists I'm a sorceress in the kitchen).

    However, this heroine is an architect and I did look into what it took to become an architect and I was all, 'that sounds like so much fun.'

    *sigh* Living vicariously through our made up characters. A nasty side effect of writing.

  2. Jessica |

    This is so funny! No, I've never done this but thanks for teaching me a new word. :-)
    While passing our airport on the way to church yesterday, I thought of you. A sign was up for lessons. :-)

  3. haleigh |

    Jessie - you found me lessons! Alright! LOL.

    Marn - yes a Regency Witch would be hard to take on, but an architect sounds cool! Lots of fun things to draw and design and imagine...hmmm...

    So are you a sorceress in a good way, as in you can whip up amazing food from scratch? Or a sorceress in my way, which means you can turn any decent meal into a fire and ruin it?

  4. Marnee Jo |

    Honestly, I don't cook anything fancy, but I make ordinary meals edibly. Which suits DH fine because he doesn't like anything gourmet (he gets a grilled chicken sandwich with tomato and cheddar cheese at just about every restaurant we go to).

    So, standard, homecooking stuff, I get pass. If it's got a fancy sauce, has a French name, or otherwise contains ingredients I can't spell/find readily, it's not on my menu.

    Read: I make a mean stove top stuffing.

  5. haleigh |

    Mmm stove top stuffing! Yummy!

    My hubby likes Thai food, Lebanese food, and Indian food. I grew up in the south, which means I can fry anything and mash up some amazing potatoes.

    It doesn't really match.

    So we eat a lot of pasta and pizza. I have a couple decent meals I can make, so I rotate through those every week, and then we get Papa John's. It works :)


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