Transference focused psychotherapy

Transference-Focused Psychotherapy (TFP) is a form of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. It was specifically developed to help people who experience difficulties associated with their personality or personal functioning. The overall aim of TFP is for people to resolve these issues by achieving a better level of overall functioning, by improving relationships and by gaining a better ability to work and to enjoy life.

TFP has a long history and grew out of many years of practical experience of providing psychotherapy to people with complex psychological difficulties.

People who have TFP attend for one individual therapy session a week for at least one year.


Who is TFP for?

Anyone who has a diagnosis of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (also called Borderline Personality Disorder). TFP is also helpful for other personality problems and people who are referred don’t have to have the full diagnosis but might have ‘traits’.

Often people referred for TFP have tried other therapies, but this is not essential.


How does it work?

Like any psychoanalytic approach, therapy involves patients speaking freely about whatever comes into their mind. The therapist will help them link together various thoughts, feelings and experiences. Working in the transference refers to the idea that how someone has felt about and responded to other people in their life will also emerge in the therapy sessions. When this happens the therapist draws attention to it with the aim of trying to achieve a deeper level of personal understanding and by helping the person to become easier in relationships with others and themselves.

There is an initial assessment stage in TFP followed by setting up the therapy contract which consists of specific aims for therapy, expectations of the therapist, and any risk issues or barriers to progress. The therapy is usually conducted weekly for up to 12 months.

By the end of therapy, we hope people will have a more solid sense of self, more emotional stability, an increased ability to sustain relationships with others, and be better able to deal with life on a day-today basis.


When and where does TFP take place?

TFP is available at Gaskell House Psychotherapy Centre, Swinton Grove, Manchester and at St James’s House where the Salford Psychotherapy Service is based. Sessions are offered at various times throughout the week and we try to find the most suitable appointment. People wanting to consider TFP need to be referred by their GP or other professional.


Additional Information.

For general information on how psychoanalytic psychotherapy works see the website of the United Kingdom Council For Psychotherapy:

There is quite a lot about information about TFP on the website: This site also gives details of the research that shows the effectiveness of TFP.

There is also an international TFP group and the website is:

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