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Psychological Function, Relational Needs,and Transferential Resolution Psychotherapy of an Obsession


Hargaden’s (2001) case study, “There Ain’t No Cure for Love: The Psychotherapy of an Erotic Transference,” provided the clinical material on which to base this discussion of erotic transference as an obsession. Obsessions, repetitive fantasies, rigid behavioral patterns, and habitualized feelings are all maintained because they provide significant psychological functions. Through a relational therapy and phenomenological inquiry the therapist facilitates the client in gaining an awareness of relational needs, appreciating the intrapsychic functions of an obsession, transferring those functions to the therapeutic relationship, and engaging significant others in interpersonal contact. Four examples of psychological function are provided: predictability, identity, continuity, and stability. Various forms of transference are described in terms of relational needs, and the way in which the therapeutic relationship can be useful in the treatment of an obsession is discussed.

Psychological Function Relational Needs and Transferential Resolution Psychotherapy of an
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Erskine, R. G. 2001 Psychological Function, Relational Needs, and Transferential Resolution: Psychotherapy of an Obsession. Available at Last accessed April 2023

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