Transference and countertransference

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Kolt, Gregory S and Andersen, Mark B (2004) Transference and countertransference. In: Psychology in the physical and manual therapies. Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh, pp. 71-80.


This chapter with a long case study of an intimate professional relationship that illustrated the phenomena of transference and countertransference in the physical and manual therapies. The case of Evelyn and Miguel presented and example of how the quality of a working relationship between a therapist and client can transform both their lives. Our ontogenetic histories of relationships with significant others form the bases of how we interact with our clients, and their histories influence how they respond to us. From research in other helping professions, it has been established that the quality of professional relationships is one of the most powerful predictors of treatment outcome. Transference and countertransference can be found in most human relationships that progress beyond superficial contact, and examples include relationships with teachers, supervisors, coaches, co-workers, and clients. These phenomena can be helpful in the therapeutic process or destructive. One of the most destructive forms of transference and countertransference is when these phenomena move into the erotic realm unchecked. Sexual relationships with clients are almost always damaging for the client, and can lead to depression, feelings of betrayal, and even suicide. What is needed in the physical and manual therapies is more discussions of these topics during training, education, and professional development. Students and practitioners could benefit from learning about these powerful features of treatment, discovering how they contribute to the processes for good or ill, and gaining some skills in handling awkward situations like erotic transference. An appeal is made for a more self-reflective, self-examining ethos in the physical and manual therapies.

Item type Book Section
ISBN 044307352X
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 320000 Medical and Health Sciences
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Sport and Exercise Science
Keywords case study, relationship, transference, erotic transference, countertransference, psychology, physical
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