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Unread 12-26-2010, 05:04 PM   #1
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Default How are therapists taught to deal with countertransference?

I'm not sure if this is a good idea but I have thought about learning to deal with transference the same way that therapists learn to deal with countertransference. I just need to learn how they do it and the rest should be a matter of practice.

Can someone please recommend me a book that might help me find the information that I am looking for?
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Unread 12-26-2010, 08:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: How are therapists taught to deal with countertransference?

Tiberius,
I have read your posts and one thing that is clear to me is that you are really struggling with your t relationship right now. And oh how I can relate to that. A part of me knows exactly what you are saying and I see your pain and frustrations. The other part of me also wants to jump in and defend my fellow PCers who have formed a very strong bond with their ts and are fairly stable in their t relationships right now. I know it only takes one thread to trigger doubts and fears in each of our own delicate t situations.

What I can tell you for sure. And the reason I can tell you is that I have been there, and still go there, is that you do not want to try to read on this transferance yourself and navigate solo on this situation. The writings will trigger you and make you angry. It will lead to a larger rift in your therapy than you feel now.

One way to ease into this would be to ask your t if they can recommend any material for you to read regarding transferance. This will definately give your t the opening that they need to lead you through the conversation that needs to happen. You don't have to spill all of the beans if you know what I mean. You could simply admit to feeling unsettled about the t relationship and you could also say that you read other peoples struggles on PC and you are just having thoughts about the psychotherapy proccess in general.

This is what I have done with my t and it has NOT been easy by any means. I do not have the magical answers for you. I can tell you that I understand your pain and I hope you can find a way to talk to t about it and get the conversation going to see where it can take you. Good Luck.

Last edited by Kacey2; 12-26-2010 at 08:24 PM. Reason: more
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Unread 12-26-2010, 08:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: How are therapists taught to deal with countertransference?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiberius View Post
I'm not sure if this is a good idea but I have thought about learning to deal with transference the same way that therapists learn to deal with countertransference. I just need to learn how they do it and the rest should be a matter of practice.

Can someone please recommend me a book that might help me find the information that I am looking for?
here the mental health community learn to deal with countertransference (therapists projecting their own problems into the client) through our training sessions ie role playing, lectures, films of actual sessions to critique. Alot of our training centers on the dangers of what our unresolved issues / hiding holding unresolved emotions about our clients ie love, hate, frustrations.. could do to our clients. just like children can pick up what their parents are feeling no matter how hard they try to hide it, our clients can also pick up on our hidden emotions. So this issue is a major part of our seminars, workshops, rolee playing trainings.

We are also required to have their own therapists and also required to meet with a supervisor.

Being in therapy our selves we therapists can resolve any of our personal and work related issues during our own therapy sessions. this way we dont bring them in to our sessions with the clients. meeting with the supervisors ensures the therapist has the clients best interests at heart and isnt reading into the sessions things that are not actually there.

one of our work rules where I am is that if any one of us has any attachments, or negative reactions to a client we must take ourselves off the case, refer the client to another therapist within or outside our agencies that can work with the clients issues objectively and with clarity without our emotions, for or against that client.

the clients best interests must always come first before our own.

we also give our clients a form to fill out where they get to evaluate us and our performance, interactions with them and whether there are things we should be working on that we havent gotten to, along with a suggestion question asking if they have any suggestions that they feel would better our interactions with them.

the best thing I can suggest is that when you are experiencing transference or counter transference in your sessions talk with your treatment providers. many times all that is needed to fix something like this is talking over the points where there may be some miscommunication leading each other (therapist and client) to read things with in each other that are not actually there during the conversations.

and by all means if you feel your therapist is projecting their own issues on to you speak up and let them know. The only way we therapists know when there is a problem is if our clients speak up. we are not magical, nor can we read our clients minds.

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Unread 12-26-2010, 09:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: How are therapists taught to deal with countertransference?

Working through this is part of therapy. I think you might be wanting a less painful shortcut, which is understandable, but another kind of avoidance. On the other hand, I like to know more about things, so ...

http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/tra...psychotherapy/

http://bpd.about.com/od/treatments/a/transference.htm

http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_d...pe=doc&id=8253

http://apt.rcpsych.org/cgi/content/full/6/1/57

http://www.toddlertime.com/mh/terms/...sference-2.htm

http://www.borderlinedisorders.com/t...chotherapy.php
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Unread 12-26-2010, 11:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: How are therapists taught to deal with countertransference?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amandalouise
here the mental health community learn to deal with countertransference (therapists projecting their own problems into the client) through our training sessions ie role playing, lectures, films of actual sessions to critique. Alot of our training centers on the dangers of what our unresolved issues / hiding holding unresolved emotions about our clients ie love, hate, frustrations.. could do to our clients. just like children can pick up what their parents are feeling no matter how hard they try to hide it, our clients can also pick up on our hidden emotions. So this issue is a major part of our seminars, workshops, rolee playing trainings.
Any books in particular that you think I might want to read?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amandalouise
We are also required to have their own therapists and also required to meet with a supervisor.
Must you receive therapy within your agency or are you expected to receive therapy elsewhere? Who pays for it? But regardless of who pays for the therapist's therapy, what if the therapist is a psychologically stable person and doesn't have any issues that need to be resolved with the help of a therapist? Concerning the supervisor, what are his/her typical qualifications? And what exactly do you discuss with him? Do you share with him your thoughts about your patients' problems and ask for suggestions on how to deal with them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amandalouise
Being in therapy our selves we therapists can resolve any of our personal and work related issues during our own therapy sessions. this way we dont bring them in to our sessions with the clients
Please illustrate with an example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amandalouise
meeting with the supervisors ensures the therapist has the clients best interests at heart and isnt reading into the sessions things that are not actually there.
For example?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amandalouise
one of our work rules where I am is that if any one of us has any attachments, or negative reactions to a client we must take ourselves off the case, refer the client to another therapist within or outside our agencies that can work with the clients issues objectively and with clarity without our emotions, for or against that client.
Negative emotions is self-explanatory but what exactly constitutes an attachment to a client? Do you mean like romantic feelings or just liking them too much?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amandalouise
and by all means if you feel your therapist is projecting their own issues on to you speak up and let them know. The only way we therapists know when there is a problem is if our clients speak up. we are not magical, nor can we read our clients minds.

What would be an example of a therapist projecting his or her issues onto the client? Do you mean like the therapist who gives the client an attitude?
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Unread 12-27-2010, 12:30 AM   #6
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Default Re: How are therapists taught to deal with countertransference?

When we project onto the therapist, for example we react to them 'as if' they were someone from our past, that is tranference. We transferred those feelings from the initial experience and person onto the present experience and person.

If a therapist reacts to the patient the same way, it is countertransference. If the therapist finds him/herself feeling anger because the patient is being demeaning and that anger is coming from the therapist's past experience of his parent being demeaning, then that is counter-transference. The therapist is reacting from his past experience and person and no longer being therapeutic. So the therapist who has had his/her own psychotherapy/psychoanalysis and knows him/herself well, is more likely to be aware of the counter-transference right when it happens and hopefully before it affects the therapy.

Simple transference happens every day. The best example I know is seeing an older gentleman at the grocery store who reminds you of your favorite and kind uncle, so you immediately have warm and kind feelings about this gentlemen, who in fact you know nothing about. The feelings (and attributes) for the person from the past have been transferred to the person in the present.
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Unread 12-27-2010, 12:49 AM   #7
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Default Re: How are therapists taught to deal with countertransference?

The biggest relief I had in dealing with these types of feelings was when after 6yrs found the courage to tell T I loved her...it was so scary up till that point....Ts eyes and whole body language when I told her really helped ...cant et that out of a book..therapy is about responses to our feelings...changing how we feel about ourselves when we have such feelings especially if our feelings had been shamed growing up.....afraid that if I let my guard down T would somehow change into my past...she didn't she took my ove foe her and didn't try to deny it or change it...
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Unread 12-27-2010, 02:35 AM   #8
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Default Re: How are therapists taught to deal with countertransference?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiberius View Post
How are therapists taught to deal with countertransference?
Different training programs will deal with it differently. Here are some ways therapists might deal with countertransference:
1) Self awareness. If the therapist knows himself well, he will be aware when countertransferential feelings arise and can apply diligence to managing them so as not to harm the client.
2) Supervision. This means the therapist sees a therapist for advice on his clients. The therapist can talk to this supervisory therapist about his feelings toward clients, where they are coming from, how to manage them, etc. This leads to greater self awareness (#1). Tiberius, you also asked what qualifications the therapist's therapist (who provides supervision) would have. I believe this is determined at the state level. In my state, the Ts providing supervision must have training in supervision and have some sort of certificate in this. You can look this up for your own state.
3) Transparency. Not all Ts do this, but my T does. When he is feeling something transferential towards me, he tells me. By identifying it openly, and laying it out on the table before us, it is somehow disarmed and loses its power. I appreciate my T's honesty in these instances. It makes him seems more human to me to know that his own feelings sometimes arise. I know some Ts would not be transparent with their clients as it goes against their training (e.g. some therapists believe they should be a "blank slate" to the client).

These are just 3 ways a therapist might deal with countertransference. Not every T will use all of them, and some Ts might use other ways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiberius
I'm not sure if this is a good idea but I have thought about learning to deal with transference the same way that therapists learn to deal with countertransference.
Do you think any of the 3 ways I've mentioned might be helpful to you?

There are many books on how to be an effective therapist, which encompasses managing countertransference. I don't have a specific recommendation but there are probably a lot of books of this sort that can be found by searching Amazon (or your public library database).
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Unread 12-27-2010, 05:36 AM   #9
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Trig Re: How are therapists taught to deal with countertransference?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amandalouise
here the mental health community learn to deal with countertransference (therapists projecting their own problems into the client) through our training sessions ie role playing, lectures, films of actual sessions to critique. Alot of our training centers on the dangers of what our unresolved issues / hiding holding unresolved emotions about our clients ie love, hate, frustrations.. could do to our clients. just like children can pick up what their parents are feeling no matter how hard they try to hide it, our clients can also pick up on our hidden emotions. So this issue is a major part of our seminars, workshops, rolee playing trainings.

Any books in particular that you think I might want to read?

Like I stated we get our training through seminars workshops and roleplaying, these are not done with books. they are taught through mental health providers that are faccilitating the classes. they them selves have been in the business for many years some for decades.

my actual book learning is textbooks you can find in any state university college on the topics of psychologiy and applications of psychiatric therapy modules taught by any professor of psychology.

its very easy to register at any USA community and state colleges for any field of study including psychology. write to colleges you think you would like to take psychology classes at, tell them you are interested in the psychology field. they will send you information about their pyschology classes. Choose your class. go tot he colleges registration office and they can help you register for classes and fill out financial aid forms if needed. then when the classes begin you are all set.

for books that fit your actual situation talk to your treatment providers. they will know which books will be of best use to you.

if you dont want to discuss this problem with your treatment providers you can go to any library, use their card catalog or computer to access their books about psychology. then you can take all the time you need looking through the books and decide for yourself which books best fit you.

Im not your treatment providers, I dont know what the full situation is nor do I know what your level of understanding is about psychology and all that so what I might suggest for you could do more harm than good. its best that you either contact your treatment providers or visit your nearest library and decide for yourself what best fits you.



Quote:
Originally Posted by amandalouise
We are also required to have their own therapists and also required to meet with a supervisor.

Must you receive therapy within your agency or are you expected to receive therapy elsewhere? Who pays for it? But regardless of who pays for the therapist's therapy, what if the therapist is a psychologically stable person and doesn't have any issues that need to be resolved with the help of a therapist? Concerning the supervisor, what are his/her typical qualifications? And what exactly do you discuss with him? Do you share with him your thoughts about your patients' problems and ask for suggestions on how to deal with them?

here we have our own therapy outside of our work places. if we were being treated by the same people that we have for co workers that would be a conflict of interest. kind of like a police officer doesnt investigate crimes commited by or against their relatives and doctors dont treat their own families, and judges dont preside over cases where they personally know the people involved with the trial.

each location (state, country...) has their own requirements for what constitutes what in careers. to find out what is required where you are contact your treatment providers or any mental health agency. they can tell you how to find that information for your location.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amandalouise
Being in therapy our selves we therapists can resolve any of our personal and work related issues during our own therapy sessions. this way we dont bring them in to our sessions with the clients

Please illustrate with an example.

example about 6 months to a year ago I was on the job and was a witness to a domestic violence murder. Having someone kill your client before your very eyes causes PTSD symptoms. Instead of going right back to work and projecting on my clients I was full of anxiety, and scared that other clients abusive partners, spouses would do the same thing, I took some time off and addressed my PTSD symptoms and that situation of having a client murdered in front of me up with my own treatment providers.

now when Im with a client I dont sit there outwardly addressing their problems while inside feeling panicy, anxious that any second that clients partner is going to barge in with a gun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amandalouise
meeting with the supervisors ensures the therapist has the clients best interests at heart and isnt reading into the sessions things that are not actually there.

For example?

Example many of my clients are survivors of abuse. Im a survivor of abuse. having this common ground can be hard. while working and hearing clients stories you think - this is what needs to be done. but because of that common ground there. I have to think - is this what is right for the client or is this what I would like to happen because I would have wanted that to happen. bouncing my thoughts on the case around with my supervisor gives clarity to the issue so that the plans for my client is whats best for the client not whats best for me.

another example is here on psych central. read the posts and you will find many cases where we all react to the posts according to how we perceive the posts and what we think is right because of our own common grounds. sometimes it takes the objectivity of the moderators to show us that not everyone benefits from the same things that we ourselves benefit from. Sometimes its anothers point of view that shows us not all posts are about us when someone here is having a problem.

thats what meetings with a supervisor is like. having someone to bounce ideas with and have another persons point of view to ensure everything going on in the therapy sessions is for the clients not the therapists.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amandalouise
one of our work rules where I am is that if any one of us has any attachments, or negative reactions to a client we must take ourselves off the case, refer the client to another therapist within or outside our agencies that can work with the clients issues objectively and with clarity without our emotions, for or against that client.

Negative emotions is self-explanatory but what exactly constitutes an attachment to a client? Do you mean like romantic feelings or just liking them too much?

sometimes it is romantic feelings, sometimes it isnt. sometimes its just that the client and therapist have so many common grounds that its hard on both the client and therapist. sometimes its a conflict of interest and treatment options, sometimes its because the therapists own personal views on their clients.

example..say you had cancer and you had a therapist with the american cancer society who had cancer.

you decide you dont want any more chemo, refuse any meds, refuse any management options and your therapist thinks you should keep going through treatment, keep trying to follow your treatment plans.

the therapist is hiding anger, frustration and doesnt want to be your treatment provider any more because they feel you are giving up, too hard to work with now because you are refusing to participate in treatment.

it doesnt do you any good trying to take with a therapist who cant make eye contact with you, their jaw muscles clenching and unclenching, fidgiting with this and that, constantly eyeing the clock, constantly focusing on what you wont do vs what you think is best for you.. all thats going to make you feel is my therapist hates me.. my therapist this or that..

with this therapist harboring unresolved feelings about you it in turn affects you, no matter how hard the therapist hides it. So its better for a therapist to go to their boss or supervisor, tell them the situation and have your case assigned to someone else who is better at this kind of thing or have the therapist refer you to the agency that deals with people who have decided no more cancer treatment which is hospice program.


Quote:
Originally Posted by amandalouise
and by all means if you feel your therapist is projecting their own issues on to you speak up and let them know. The only way we therapists know when there is a problem is if our clients speak up. we are not magical, nor can we read our clients minds.


What would be an example of a therapist projecting his or her issues onto the client? Do you mean like the therapist who gives the client an attitude?

no clients and therapists give each other "attitude" all the time. its comes with the job that clients are not going to be receptive to everything and vice versa. thats human nature from being individuals.

take the situation above... my having witnessed a clients murder. my projecting on you the client would be my thinking every time you raised your voice even if you are doing it out of excitement and happiness I feel you were getting volatile and any minute expecting you to get violent so I tell you to settle down and quit being so volatile.

another example I have a bad day so I assume you are having a bad day. you come in sit down and I say to you.. rough day huh without even finding out from you that you in fact had a really good day.

Last edited by wanttoheal; 12-27-2010 at 08:49 AM. Reason: added trigger icon
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Unread 12-27-2010, 07:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: How are therapists taught to deal with countertransference?

http://www.hypnosisdepot.com/Psychot...nd_of_Love.php

someone posted this somewhere some time, and it answered some questions for me

Tiberius hope you find what you need.
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