Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 55 Issue 2 (June 1982), Pages 109-201

Types of countertransference identified by Q‐analysis (pages 187-201)

It is suggested that the term countertransference is the name of a family of emotional responses experienced by psychotherapists during their personal interaction with a patient. Although such responses have a very special importance in the psychotherapeutic relationship, similar phenomena occur in all relationships. In this study, therefore, the feelings that each of the nurses on a psychiatric ward experienced during their conversations with 10 of the patients on that ward were investigated. With the help of the new mathematical technique of Q‐analysis it was possible to identify a number of different types of response within a nurse's total reaction to a patient. These were called the role response, the diagnostic response, the character response and the conflict response. It is argued that it is more useful to try and identify and describe the different kinds of response that a therapist may have to a patient than to argue about what can and what cannot be legitimately called countertransference.

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