Transference is not a simple repetition; but what we are dealing with is the need of a person to have another person to fulfill this need. For instance, if I feel weak, uncertained, afraid of risks, afraid of decisions―I may want to find a person who is certain, who is prompt, who is powerful, in whom I can take refuge. Naturally I seek that all my life. This will be the kind of boss I seek for, or a professor if I am student―and this is what I shall see in the analyst. On the other hand, I am a very narcissistic person who thinks everybody else is an idiot provided he criticizes me I will think that the analyst is an idiot, my teacher is an idiot, my boss is an idiot, everybody else is. These are all the same phenomena of transference, except in analysis we call it transference when we can analyze it. ― (1991d [1974]: Therapeutic Aspects of Psychoanalysis, in: E. Fromm, The Art of Listening, New York (The Continuum Publishing Corporation) 1994, p. 120.)

In my view, „transference,” as we know it in psychoanalysis, is a manifestation of idolatry: A person transfers his own activities or all of what he experiences – of his power of love, of his power of thought – onto an object outside himself. The object can be a person, or a thing made of wood or of stone. As soon as a person has set up this transferential relatedness, he enters into relation with himself only by submitting to the object onto which he has transferred his own human functions. ― (1992 [1961]: Modern Man and the Future, in: E. Fromm, On Being Human, New York (Continuum) 1994, pp. 24.)