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The Spiritual Teacher As The Enemy

click here for a free psychic reading at PsychicAccess.comIn psychology, therapists are trained to handle what is known as transference behavior in some of their clients or patients. Spiritual healers, readers, and teachers generally do not have much knowledge or skill in this regard, which can be detrimental for both the practitioner and those who come to them for services.

What is transference? When people go to spiritual professionals, they are often hurt and in psychological, emotional or spiritual pain, which sometimes also manifests as physical pain. People mainly are ‘hurt’ by other people in their lives, with whom they have emotional connections. When emotional connections are damaged (real or imagined) people feel hurt, betrayed, abandoned or experience various other emotions. When seeking healing or guidance (in whatever modality) those feelings of hurt are often transferred to the healer, teacher or other ‘authority figures.’

The healer or teacher therefore becomes the ‘perpetrator’ by proxy and the student or client may then react to the healer or teacher in a variety of ways relevant to this projection or transference. This may include behaviors like sabotaging the work, or outright emotional and even physical attacks on the healer or teacher.

In psychoanalytical theory there is a phenomenon called transference. The therapist becomes a blank screen, onto which the patient projects some incident or feeling that began in childhood… it would not be a far reach for someone to look at my feelings for Jess and assume that, in the context of our relationship as tutor and pupil, I am not in love. I’m just in transference ~ Jodi Picoult

If managed well, this can become part of the healing or learning process, if the practitioner allows herself to become the symbol or substitute for the person who originally caused the pain of the student or client. The client can thus re-enact, relive, recall, reconstruct the past events, in order release it, and then move on to healing.

This process takes skill, knowledge, talent and finesse. Those not equipped to work with transference not only may not recognize when it is happening, they typically lack the tools to make it a part of the healing work. In these situations transference issues can, and usually do escalate and derail the work.

And then, of course, there is also counter-transference, when practitioners unconsciously turn their client or student into a proxy for someone who hurt them, and then may ‘take out’ their frustration or hurt on the person coming to them for help! This is another area in which spiritual practitioners typically have no training, knowledge or tools. But this is another discussion.

How does one recognize transference in the behavior or actions of a client? First of all, it helps to remember that transference is unconscious. That said, a rattlesnake bite is not personal! However, personal or not, it still has an effect. Secondly, this is a short article and in no way fully covers the complexity of transference, or describes all the possible examples. It definitely does not address how a practitioner should respond and this article therefore does not offer tools that can be used. Lastly, the common reaction of counter-transference is also not being addressed here at all, and that is not only part of the issue, it is a key element that affects the work of all practitioners.

If a person grew up in a dysfunctional home, due to alcoholism, drugs, violence, emotional abuse, abandonment, and so forth, and has not engaged in any shadow or healing work regarding their childhood, transference issues will be pronounced, deeply hidden, and usually covered in decades of denial. This will make it even more difficult to catch and identify transference behaviors and issues.

The following are a few briefly described examples of transference behaviors. Children from a family with violence learn to make themselves ‘small’, invisible even. In healing situations, the client will make the practitioner into a parent by proxy. Clients will unconsciously react to the practitioner in the ways they learned to survive their abusive childhood when they were powerless children. They will ‘shrink,’ because it is their learned response to any authority figure. It is hard to heal when the client is trying to unconsciously become ‘invisible.’ If you are working hard to be invisible, speaking and sharing will be almost impossible, and even the body and emotions shut down, as clients try to protect themselves by disappearing.

Practical analysis has shown that unconscious contents are invariably projected first upon concrete persons and situations. Many projections can ultimately be integrated back into the individual once he has recognized their subjective origin; others resist integration, and although they may be detached from their original objects, they thereon transfer themselves to the doctor ~ Carl Jung

Emotional abuse in a family teaches children that they are ‘losers’ and that no matter what they do, say, or think, they are wrong and unlovable. Clients like this will work hard to prove they are ‘wrong’ and unlovable, before anyone else does that to them. As children, this strategy saved them from hurt. Since hurt in their childhood was unavoidable, the best solution became to control how and when they get hurt, because that was better than being blindsided. As uneducated, unhealed adults, they will do the same with anyone who tries to help them and unconsciously sabotage any healing work. “See, even you can’t help me,” is their cry. Because the injured child that still lives inside of them is sure the reason their parents were cruel to them, was their fault. Now that is their norm. They are ‘wrong,’ and they are ‘beyond help.’ Uneducated practitioners will, in error, call this being passive aggressive.

Another reaction to childhood emotional abuse is to see everyone as a threat that must be beaten. The world is seen as ‘hammer and nail’ and abuse taught them it is better to be the hammer. They know nothing else. These unhealed adults will see any authority figure, even healers, as threats that must be beaten in order to not only survive, but to maintain a sense of self. They will ‘prove’ to any practitioner that they are smarter and better, and will treat their healer as competition. This behavior can in fact escalate in a manner to be quite brutal to practitioners.

These few examples are but a drop in the bucket. Practitioners that are not educated in identifying and working with transference typically react to protect themselves from these behaviors, without looking to understanding the root cause. They will either end up in a dysfunctional dance, without quite understanding why, or they will retreat into the safety of over the top ‘positivism,’ because no one reacts poorly to being complemented, stroked, reassured, or to having ‘’angels’ give predictions and promises of an ‘amazing future’ for their client. Trust me. I have seen this when people come to me after much money spent on the ‘feel good’ operations of some psychics and healers.

What can be learned here? An unexamined childhood can haunt you and infiltrate all your choices in behavior and relationships as an adult. You incarnated into the family you chose before coming here, while you were in Spirit, with Guides, in order to set up a lifetime of learning while in this physical body. Therefore, to ignore what happened to you in your family of origin is to ignore the starting point of the life path journey you chose, before you got here, with your Guides helping you design this life. The first point of long-term healing (if there is no pending emergency) is often family of origin material… and for practitioners to develop both intuition and skills regarding transference and counter-transference.

About The Author: Nonna

Nonna lives in Southern California, and is a professor of psychology and a teacher of psychic development, energy work and meditation, who has recently finished her PhD. She has been a counselor for both humans and animals for thirty years, removing energy blocks through her expertise in the spiritual arts. She also has numerous years of study and practice with classic psychological therapeutic models, family work, twelve-step processes, nutritional and body/mind/spirit healing, complementary, alternative, and quantum medicine. Nonna is brilliant at unearthing the gems in every client's soul and polishing them to a fine finish. To release your own soul's sparkle, contact Nonna at

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