Countertransference and Challenges With Clients in Therapy
Countertransference is a unique phenomenon that typically occurs as a reaction to transference in case therapists transfer their emotions to their clients in therapy. There is a number of situations in which countertransference may be either problematic and harmful, or beneficial for patients (Corey & Corey, 2015). For instance, if a new client has social anxiety and thus difficulty starting and having conversations with strangers, it is a situation I may experience countertransference. If I, as a therapist, empathize with that person and decide to lead the conversation and encourage discussion by providing additional prompts, it may provide a possibility of pointing to the countertransference. It will help the client understand how problems with making conversation may affect other people.
Another situation when I may feel problematic countertransference is if my client expresses their homophobic or racist views entirely opposed to my opinion. It will be challenging for me to remain willing to empathize with and help this person deal with their issues. Finally, the third example is me having difficulty losing or gaining weight, being excessively concerned with it, and meeting a patient who has a perfect body without putting in any effort. This situation may trigger my problem and lead to temporary disconnection from the person in therapy.
There are also different types of challenges I may experience with clients. First of all, I may feel annoyed or irritated by a person who does not know why they came to the therapy and are not aware of having a problem. Such clients may be uninvolved in the process and show no progress, which will make me question the necessity of sessions with them. Second, if I notice that a person uses their emotions as a defense, I may feel manipulated (Corey & Corey, 2015). For example, if a client often cries or demonstrates their fear, especially if it looks inappropriate or faked, I am most likely to lack compassion and disconnect from them. Finally, the third situation is when a client openly doubts my advice and considers my questions unimportant when discussing any topic. In this case, it will be difficult not to start negating the need for sessions. Moreover, it is likely that I will lose the motivation to make valuable recommendations and deeply analyze the situation because I will expect them to devalue my every action.
Corey, M. S., & Corey, G. (2015). Becoming a helper. Cengage Learning.