SOCIAL WORK STUDENTS’ EXPERIENCE AND MANAGEMENT OF COUNTERTRANSFERENCE
AbstractCountertransference – the emotional reactions that clients trigger in practitioners – can, if not understood or managed, result in unethical conduct and harm to clients, practitioners and the profession. A solid understanding of countertransference theory, insight into one’s own countertransference reactions, and skills in managing countertransference appropriately are vital components of ethical and effective social work practice. This paper reports on a small qualitative study among undergraduate social work students. Results reveal that countertransference is indeed experienced by students, but poorly understood and sometimes inappropriately managed. Recommendations for social work education, field instruction and supervision are provided.
AGASS, D. 2002. Countertransference, supervision and the reflection process. Journal of Social Work Practice, 16(2):125-133.
BEAN, R.A., DAVIS, S.D. & DAVEY, M. P. 2014. Clinical supervision activities for increasing competence and self-awareness. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
BURWELL-PENDER, L. & HALINSKI, K.H. 2008. Enhanced awareness of countertransference. Journal of Professional Counselling, Practice, Theory and Research, 36(2):38-49.
CABANISS, D.L. 2011. Psychodynamic psychotherapy: a clinical manual. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
CANFIELD, J. 2005. Secondary traumatization, burnout, and vicarious traumatization: a review of the literature as it relates to therapists who treat trauma. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 75(2):81-98.
CASEMENT, P. 1992. Learning from the patient. London, UK: Routledge.
CRESWELL, J.W. 2012. Qualitative inquiry and research design: choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
DALENBERG, C.J. 2004. Maintaining the safe and effective therapeutic relationship in the context of distrust and anger: countertransference and complex trauma. Psychotherapy, 41:438-447.
EDWARD, J. 2009. When social work and psychoanalysis meet. Clinical Social Work Journal, 37:14-22.
EGAN, P. 2014. The skilled helper: a problem-management and opportunity-development approach to helping (10th ed). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.
ETCHEGOYEN, R.H. 1991. The fundamentals of psychoanalytic technique. London: Karnac Books.
EZZY, D. 2002. Qualitative analysis: practice and innovation. Crows Nest, Australia: Allen & Unwin.
FREUD, S. 1910. The future prospects of psychoanalytic therapy. In:
FREUD, S. Collected papers, Vol. 2, Papers on technique. New York: Basic Books.
GABBARD, G.O. 2001. A contemporary psychoanalytic model of countertransference. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 57:983-991.
GELSO, C.J. & HAYES, J.A. 1998. The psychotherapy relationship: theory, research, and practice. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
GELSO, C.J. & HAYES, J.A. 2007. Countertransference and the therapist’s inner experience: perils and possibilities. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
HAYES, J.A. 2004. The inner world of the psychotherapist: a program of research on countertransference. Psychotherapy Research, 14(1):21-36.
HINSHELWOOD, R.D. 1994. Clinical Klein. London: Free Association Books.
LADANY, N. & FRIEDLANDER, M. 1995. The relationship between the supervisory working alliance and trainees’ experience of role conflict and role ambiguity. Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision, 34:220-231.
LEMMA, A. 2003. Introduction to the practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Chichester, UK: John Wiley and Sons.
LIEGNER, E.J. 2007. Focused countertransference exploration in classroom teaching of modern psychoanalytic candidates. Clinical Social Work Journal, 35:277-286.
LINCOLN, Y.S. & GUBA, E.G. 1985. Naturalistic inquiry. London: Sage Publications.
ORANGE, D.M. 1993. Countertransference, empathy, and the hermeneutical circle. In: GOLDBERG, A. (ed), The widening scope of self psychology (Progress in self psychology, volume 9). Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press.
ORNSTEIN, E.D. & GANZER, C. 2005. Relational social work: a model for the future. Families in Society, 86(4):565-572.
REYNOLDS-MEJIA, P. & LEVITAN, S. 1990. Countertransference issues in the in-home treatment of child sexual abuse. Child Welfare: Journal of Policy, Practice, and Program, 69:53-61.
SAAKVITNE, K.W. 2002. Shared traumas: the therapist’s increased vulnerability. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 12(2):443-449.
SARASOHN, M.K. 2005. The use of shame and dread in the countertransference. Clinical Social Work Journal, 38(4):445-468.
SCHENCK, C.J. 2008. Should being a South African make social work training different? Towards giving new meaning to the concept “student-centredness”. Inaugural lecture. Unisa, Pretoria.
SEDGWICK, D. 2013. The wounded healer: counter-transference from a Jungian perspective. London: Routledge.
SMITH, J.A., FLOWERS, P. & LARKIN, M. 2009. Interpretative phenomenological analysis: theory, method and research. London: Sage Publications.
SOUTHERN, S. 2007. Countertransference and intersubjectivity: golden opportunities in clinical supervision. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 14(4):279-302.
VAN BREDA, A.D. & AGHERDIEN, N. 2012. Promoting deep learning through personal reflective e-journalling: a case study. Social Work/Maatskaplikewerk, 48(2):126-141.
VAN BREDA, A.D. 2013. Psychosocial vulnerability of social work students. Social Work Practitioner-Researcher, 25(1):19-35.
WADE, B.L. 2009. UNISA social work students’ experiences of trauma: an exploratory study from a person-centred perspective. Pretoria: University of South Africa. (Unpublished Doctoral Thesis)
WATKINS, C.E. 1985. Countertransference: its impact on the counseling situation. Journal of Counseling and Development, 63(16):356-359.
WILLIAMS, E.N., JUDGE, A.B., HILL, C.E. & HOFFMAN, M.A. 1997. Experiences of novice therapists in prepracticum: trainees’, clients’, and supervisors’ perceptions of therapists’ personal reactions and management strategies. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 44:390-399.
This journal is an open access journal, and the authors and journal should be properly acknowledged when works are cited.
Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk hold copyright.
Auhtors may use the publishers version for teaching purposes, in books, and with conferences.
The following license applies:
Attribution CC BY-4.0
This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation.
Articles as a whole may not be re-published with another journal.