Taking Care of the Hated and Hateful Patient
Countertransference phenomena, the emotional responses of psychotherapists to their patients, are an inevitable component of psychotherapy. How psychotherapists feel about their patients provides important clinical data that influences the treatment process. In contrast to classical psychoanalytic thinking that represents the personal reactions of the psychotherapist as irrelevant or detrimental, more recent ideas understand these reactions as opportunities to enhance the treatment process. Countertransference rage and hatred are particularly threatening topics. Psychotherapists are healers who care for their patients. To acknowledge hostile feelings towards a patient takes courage and professional maturity. How to make effective use of these feelings in understanding and managing the treatment relationship is challenging and risky. Nevertheless, hatred in its various forms is inevitable in a profession where exposure to intense affect is routine. In the treatment of personality disorders where the therapist is invited to reenact certain aggressive roles, the alternative to experiencing hatred may be affective numbing and stonewalling. This symposium, originally presented at the 2005 APA Convention in Washington D.C., brings together four experienced psychotherapists to discuss the theoretical aspects of countertransference anger and hatred and its management in practice.
Part of the APA Online Academy Convention Workshop Presentations Campus.
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