Patients' relationship episodes and therapists' feelings
2002 (English)In: Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, ISSN 1476-0835, Vol. 75, no 4, 393-409 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The idea that psychotherapists' feelings may reflect some aspect of the content in the patients' material has long been clinically accepted but on the whole poorly systematically studied. The aim of this study was to analyse associations between relationship episodes told by patients at evaluation interviews, and therapists' subsequent feelings towards the patients. In total, 28 psychotherapies with nine psychotherapists were studied. Before therapy started, the clients were interviewed separately by the eventual therapist and a second interviewer and six relationship episodes were written down by the interviewers. During the therapy, the therapists reported their feelings on a 'feeling checklist' after each therapy session. In a first analysis, the relationship episodes were categorized according to the CCRT system. The results indicated only scattered associations between CCRT categories and therapist feelings. The results were, however, difficult to interpret as it was found that the therapists' feeling patterns were quite homogenous for each therapist. Considering this, qualitative analyses were made of six therapies carried out by two therapists. These analyses revealed different but theoretically plausible patterns between the feelings attributed to the persons in the patients' relationship episodes and the therapists' subsequent feelings towards the patients. The results were interpreted as a confirmation of the purported relations between patient relationship episodes and therapist feelings, but also as pointing to the need to develop the understanding of these patterns. It seems particularly important to emphasize the importance of the therapist's own habitual feeling patterns when the impact of the patient's internalized relationship patterns on countertransference reactions is evaluated.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 75, no 4, 393-409 p.
National CategorySocial Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-33555DOI: 10.1348/147608302321151907Local ID: 19584OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-33555DiVA: diva2:254378