Transference is broadly defined as the experience of feelings toward a person that do not befit the intended individual but belong to another person from the past. Intensive analysis of transference is the modus operandi that technically distinguishes psychoanalysis from all other forms of psychotherapy. Since Freud's original serendipitous discovery of the "strange phenomenon'' of transference in the psychoanalytic treatment of every neurotic patient, its vicissitudes have been conceptualized in various related ways: (1) as a distinct type of therapeutic relationship, which has since been distinguished from nontransferential therapist - patient bonds (i.e., therapeutic alliance or real relationship); (2) as substitute pathology, expressed in the formation and resolution of a so-called transference neurosis; and (3) as a general phenomenon that transcends the boundaries of analysis into all human relationships.

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