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    Countertransference Views

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    After reading the articles (see attachment), give consideration to your own views of countertransference. Discuss both the productive and less-valuable aspects of countertransference, and any countertransference issues you can identify related to either your own experiences or recent experiences that have surfaced in your practicum with a particular case.

    Your post and responses are expected to be substantive in nature and to reference the assigned theoretical, empirical, or professional literature to support your views and writings. Reference your sources using standard APA guidelines.

    Counselor Confession
    Hello everyone. My name is Bridgette, and I am a mental health counselor. I was asked to do this "counselor type confessional" to help all of you with some challenging stuff that you may be facing or learning about now. I was asked just to think about some challenging things I have dealt with as a counselor, on a personal level, and share my experiences with you. I thought about it for a while and came up with something really interesting—well, hopefully you will find it interesting. As I was thinking back to when I was in school, one of the most difficult concepts I had to learn—well I apparently did not learn until it happened to me—was this countertransference thing. Yes, I know you are all thinking the same thing: you kind of know what it is but not really. Well, I will share with you the day when countertransference became clear to me, and my hope is that you can learn vicariously through me and not have to experience this yourself. I understand you are taking a personal growth class, so make the most of it!
    So I will give you a bit of history. I began seeing this couple—a husband and wife—Bill and Mary we will call them. They came in because of some typical marital issues. Bill felt that his wife was too controlling with his time and with their money and was frustrated because Mary needed to be more emotionally available than what he thought was reasonable. Well, Mary thought that Bill spent much more time with his friends, Johnny Walker and Captain Morgan. Mary said they had fun together but that he always had to be drinking, and she just did not get why he could not go out to eat or have a night out—a nice dinner date—and not have a drink.
    So I saw the couple together three times, and they just did not seem to be getting anywhere. In fact, they seemed to be getting worse. The more we worked on basic communication skills, the worse they got. The more we focused on compromising, the more distant they became. I was really at the end of my clinical rope I guess, because they did not seem to have real deep problems, but they did not seem to be making any progress. They seemed to be genuine in their desire to work toward a healthier relationship and voiced their commitment to each other, so I was just perplexed!
    So just before my fourth session with them, I decided to brainstorm this couple with a counselor friend of mine. She always gives me good insight, so I feel confident in consulting with her. She gave me a great piece of advice. She reminded me that often when we struggle with our clients, the source of the struggle is. . . well, it is really within us, the counselors. She suggested that I do a bit of self-exploration. So I reflected on our first three sessions: the exchanges between all three of us, the challenges, how I was perceiving things, and my reactions. Well, I did this for a few days and at the end of those few days, it hit me—countertransference. Yes, the "C" word, countertransference. I finally realized what it was all about. I really finally knew what that elusive countertransference concept was. My discovery, my connection. I had recalled as a young teenager being tired of my mom nagging my dad—nagging is how I saw it—about going to the Lodge to have a drink with his buddies. She always got so mad at him, and of course I could not see why he could not give her a bit more attention. My dad was not a heavy drinker, but my mom just always thought he put his social life before her. I just wanted my dad to be there so my mom would not be upset. This only happened for a period of about a year or so, so it was not even something I thought about a lot...until now of course. I guess it impacted me more than I thought.
    So, there I was, the 12-year-old sitting in the session with Mary and Bill, just trying to get Bill to be more like I wanted my dad to be back then.
    Well, this opened up a lot of clinical doors for me. I began examining some of my other "challenging clients," realizing that I was not done with my own personal work. I always saw countertransference as clinical failure or something that I would never do. And there I was, going through it myself. I actually did not see it as a clinical failure because the self-discoveries as a result have enhanced my presence with clients. I do not want you to experience what I did, so I just encourage you to really start your self-exploration now.
    So that is my clinical story. I hope it helps you. Thanks for your time, and good luck!
    Interactive Design:
    Patrick Lapinski
    Instructional Design:
    David Herding
    Project Management:
    Anne Echtenkamp

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    Solution Preview

    (a) After reading the articles (see attachment), give consideration to your own views of countertransference.

    A view of countertransference is based on studies that suggest countertransference can occur when the counselor/practitioner associate the clients' struggle with the counselor/practitioner's own struggle with similar issues. For instance, Volkan as cited in Athina & Vastamatzis, 1993), common countertransference can occur in therapists treating persons with personality disorders such as schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder when the therapist allows him or herself to regress to the level of the already regressed person. Others suggest factors as boredom, irritation, feelings or disgust, or aggressiveness. According to Athina & Vastamatzis (1993), the countertransference effect is the first signal of the client's transference, and of his or her own.

    (b) Discuss both the productive and less-valuable aspects of countertransference

    Athina & Vastamatzis 1993) assert that in a good functional countertransference situation the analyst has double relations to the patient—one in understanding what the ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution discusses the positive and negative aspects of countertransference.