Excerpt About Idealizing Transference

Idealizing the Teacher

While both mirroring and idealizing transference intensify when a student begins working on identification with the ego self-identity—the shell, for normal personality structures the idealizing transference usually predominates at the beginning. Students with narcissistic structures tend to manifest the mirroring transference early in the process. The student who is dealing with narcissism tends to relate to his teacher and to significant others in his life like a child does when it is developmentally normal to need an idealized self-object: “Since all bliss and power now reside in the idealized object, the child feels empty and powerless when he is separated from it and he attempts, therefore, to maintain a continuous union with it.” (Kohut, 1971, p. 37) The student believes, at least unconsciously but often consciously, that his teacher possesses perfection and greatness. This perception is based not on reality but on his own narcissistic needs. He does not question this image of his teacher, believing it to be true, and feels blessed and fortunate to have such an extraordinary teacher. He cannot help but adore his teacher, believing him to be the best thing that has ever appeared on the earth. His mind might be somewhat incredulous of the intensity of his love and admiration, but his feelings are completely convincing.

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