Transference and Tele: Section I, Tele

This is the third post while doing a close reading of Moreno’s lecture on Tele, “given by the author during his European journey, May- June, 1954.”

Note: I continue to edit these posts, they are a work in progress for now, not really be good blogging practice. If anyone comments or there are track backs, I will not change what I wrote so conversations make sense.

First Post – Intro
Second Post – Transference
Transference and Tele (tag).

Quotes from the lecture, some research on Google and my detailed comments follow.

Here is the next paragraph in full from Moreno’s lecture.

Paragraph 7, Pages 5 and 6 in Psychodrama Vol II:

Before we go further, let us analyze the two-situation from a different angle, as there is something to learn from it which is rarely pointed out. I observed that when a patient is attracted to a therapist, besides transference behavior, another type of behavior is taking place in the patient. Let me repeat the words in which I formulated my original observations in the paper on the subject*: “The one process is the development of fantasies (unconscious) which he projects upon the psychiatrist, surrounding him with a certain glamor. At the same time, another process takes place in him— that part of his ego which is not carried away by auto-suggestion feels itself into the physician. It sizes up the man across the desk and estimates intuitively what kind of man he is. These feelings into the actualities of this man, physical, mental or otherwise are “tele” relations. If the man across the desk, for instance, is a wise and kind man, a strong character and the authority in his profession which the patient feels him to be, then this appreciation of him is not transference but an insight gained through a different process. It is an insight into the actual makeup of the personality of the psychiatrist. We can go even further. If, during the first meeting with the patient, the psychiatrist has the feeling of his superiority and of a certain godlikeness, and, if the patient experiences this from the gestures the physician makes and from the manner of speaking, then the patient is attracted not to a fictitious but to a real psychological process going on in the doctor. Therefore, what at first sight may have appeared to have been a transference on the side of the patient is something else.” In the course of continued sessions the transference attraction towards the therapist may recede more and more and be replaced by another type of attraction, the attraction towards the actual being of the therapist, an attraction which was already there in the beginning, but somewhat clouded and disfigured by the other. Let us look now at the other member of the dyad, at the therapist. Also he started with a transference attraction towards the patient on the couch before him. It may be a young woman, her esthetic and emotional charm interfere with his clear thinking. If it would not be a professional situation he might be inclined to invite her for dinner. But in the course of consultations he begins to become acquainted with all her troubles and recognizing her emotional instability he may say to himself: “I’m fortunate not to be involved with such a disturbed creature.” In other words, a process which had operated from the start, parallel to the charm produced by transference, is now coming more strongly to the fore. He sees the patient now as she is. This other process acting between two individuals has characteristics missing in transference. It is called “tele”, feeling into one another. It is “Zweifuhlung” in difference from “Einfuhlung”. Like a telephone it has two ends and facilitates two-way communication. It is known that many therapeutic relations between physician and patient, after a phase of high enthusiasm from both sides, fade out and terminate, often for some emotional reason. The reason is frequently a mutual disillusionment when the transference charm is gone and the tele attraction is not sufficiently strong to promise permanent therapeutic benefits. It can be said that the stability of a therapeutic relationship depends upon the strength of the tele cohesion operating between the two participants. The physician-patient relation is, of course, only a specialized case of a universal phenomenon. For instance, in a love relation, if the girl projects into her lover the idea that he is a hero and if her masculine companion projects into her the idea that she is a Madonna, that may be sufficient for the start, but after a short romance the girl may discover that her hero is in many ways a fourflusher or without accomplishments. And he, in turn, may discover various imperfections in her. She has freckles and she is not as virginal as he thought her to be. But, if after knowing and experiencing all this, the two still love each other, not only maintain their romance, but get married and start a home and a family, this is a sign that the tele factors are overwhelmingly strong. Here is a cohesive force at work which stimulates stable partnership and permanent relations.

Footnote:

* Op. cit.

Experience based on the here and now, with no transference.

These feelings into the actualities of the physician, physical, mental or otherwise are “tele” relations.

“In the course of continued sessions the transference attraction towards the therapist may recede more and more and be replaced by another type of attraction, the attraction towards the actual being of the therapist, an attraction which was already there in the beginning, but somewhat clouded and disfigured by the other.”

“He sees the patient now as she is.”

I see. Moreno takes us to the here and now actual world of two people… the feelings one evokes in the other about the actual person is tele. Tele is the feeling for one person without the transference.

Moreno uses the words attraction, intuitive estimation, insight into the other person.

There is no old stuff being transferred, but a true experience of the other. Would this be it: An accurate perception of another person? Perhaps but there is something more to to tele I think.

Does tele have a direction?
Tele is something that flows from a person toward, or into another? Moreno says, “part of the ego … feels itself into the other“, “feelings into the actualities of (the other)” It is not just perception. “another type of behavior is taking place”.

A response to accurate perception of another person?

I think this still does not really get it right.

An aside on “states”, forces, and language about consciousness.
Moreno does not try to talk as if we do not have consciousness. He talks of warm-up, which seems to be an inner state, he mentions states of spontaneity. I have a sense that tele is seen as a state, a feeling rather than a behaviour. Behaviour can be based on the feeling. But the state, even when not acted on has energy that flows into the other.

Moreno also calls it a ‘force’. When tele is strong there “is a cohesive force at work which stimulates stable partnership and permanent relations.”

But to call something a force does not really explain it.

Is there a psychic energy, a tele energy? or is it just behaviour that is being experienced to and fro between people? We know we have “inner” experience, subjective private states, but how we connect to others is mysterious. This is so hard to talk about because there is a mystery.

Philosophy of mind – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

However, they are far from having been resolved, and modern philosophers of mind continue to ask how the subjective qualities and the intentionality (aboutness) of mental states and properties can be explained in naturalistic terms.[21][22]

If there is energy in consciousness then it is not like physical energy that can be measured. Yet sociometry is a way using experiential methods to understand these phenomena.

The network of tele is the sociometric matrix, and an idea of what Moreno means by this may be gleaned from this section in my paper, The Group and its Protagonist..

For all the difficulty in explaining this phenomena, it is abundantly clear that it can be measured using sociometric tests. We can see how people choose, and we know from our own inner experience that this is based on strong private experience.

This is one of the difficulties with Moreno’s philosophy. It is not really philosophy. It is a praxis. Exploring the telic relationships in a group in an experiential way shows us the patterns that are emerging. We can, even as we explore them strengthen the telic aspects and dispel transferential fantasies. We see and hear it all happen, and if we are a participant, and in sociometry that is always so, we have insight into at least one subjective experience of the process.

The term “surplus reality” comes to mind. Once the group is on the stage, there are ties that remain unconscious and invisible until the group concretises them in some way. For example, “Put your hand on the shoulder of the person who you think would make a good friend.” In a large group we can then see the swirl of movement as chains of people follow the person they have chosen until a stable pattern is revealed with some highly chosen and others not at all. The discussion and reflection on this can immediately lead to changes in relationships.

The philosophically complex idea that there is a telic dormant pattern that pre-exists this pattern forming does not arise in the praxis environment. People are simply choosing, we do it all the time.

It is “Zweifuhlung” in difference from “Einfuhlung”. Like a telephone it has two ends and facilitates two-way communication.

Mutuality
I have heard Max Clayton describe tele as a feeling projected into space. When I have used the idea this way others have said, no it is a link between people. Certainly the idea of a telephone link speaks more to the second. Tele is a channel that connects people.

~~~

Here is an audio file I made while thinking about this stuff while on my tramp. I’ll incorporate it into the text as appropriate.

Walter thinking about transference Sunday, 10 January, 2010

First part on functional difference was added in to the second post.

~~~

Paragraph 8. Page 7

Here is the conclusion: the immediate actualities between therapist and patient in the therapeutic situation at the moment of treatment is designated as the focus of attention. They are given equal opportunity for encounter. If the therapist is attracted to the patient or rejects him he is to give his secret away—instead of hiding it behind an analytic mask and if the patient is angry at the therapist or attracted to him he is free to express it instead of hiding it behind fear. If there is a meaning to this attraction the therapist is free to explain it, and if there is a meaning to this anger the patient is free to explain it. If the perceptions of each other, adequate or distorted, indicate reference to the past of the patient’s or therapist’s life, they are brought into focus. It is therapeutic love as I defined it forty years ago: “A meeting of two: eye to eye, face to face. And when you are near I will tear your eyes out and place them instead of mine, and you will tear my eyes out and will place them instead of yours, then I will look at you with your eyes and you will look at me with mine.”*

Footnote:

* J. L. Moreno, “Einladung zu einer Begegnung”, p. 3, Vienna, 1914.

…the immediate actualities between therapist and patient in the therapeutic situation at the moment of treatment is designated as the focus of attention.

This is not unlike the Carkhuff core condition of immediacy, the focus is on the here and now relationship. It is a high level of functioning when the relationship is open to such scrutiny. There is a time for this.

But there is also times not to do this. The functional difference is not noted enough by Moreno here in my opinion.

There may be matters pertaining therapist’s transference that need to be addressed by the therapist in supervision. This is not to hide behind a mask, but to keep the focus and purpose on what is useful for the client. Self disclosure is not always that useful.

Murray Stein’s goes into this in some depth. He describes (Stein 1984: 80) how a reversal can happen. The client can become the healer, suffering in order to cure the therapists illness. He calls this the great unanalysed shadow of the shamanic countertransference.

Gordon W. Allport in the Discussions of the First lecture takes up this point referring to Moreno’s “tendency to underestimate the the intrinsic difference between the patient’s and therapist’s prescribed social roles…” (page 16)

In situations where this functional difference does not exist, as between partners in a loving relationship or friends the full focus on the tele becomes highly pertinent, and the symmetry in the “motto” applies very fully.

“A meeting of two: eye to eye, face to face. And when you are near I will tear your eyes out and place them instead of mine, and you will tear my eyes out and will place them instead of yours, then I will look at you with your eyes and you will look at me with mine.”

In group therapy too Moreno is more aware of the need for distance in the work on the part of the director, talking about observer and spectator positions.

I will move on to another post. The next one will be still in response to Section I, and will cover the last three paragraphs of that section. I’ll sum up the topic roughly as “Roles”.

Leave a Reply