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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 57 (2015) 3, 202 - 209

Essay

Countertransference: from a psychoanalytical to a transtheoretical concept

A. Hafkenscheid

background In classical psychoanalysis, countertransference reactions pointed to ‘unfinished business’ on the part of the therapist. The therapist had to be able to control or eliminate his countertransference reactions in order to protect the patient from the effect of such reactions. According to psychoanalytical thinking today, however, countertransference is considered to be a joint creation of the patient and the therapist.
aim To demonstrate how countertransference, which was originally a typical psychoanalytical concept, has evolved into a trans-theoretical concept.
method A selection of the voluminous literature is discussed.
results The countertransference, which was originally a psychoanalytical concept, has been modernised and updated and has been adopted by other psychotherapeutic systems.
conclusion The current notion that countertransference is a concept created jointly by patient and therapist has led to increased interest among practitioners of other types of psychotherapy, making them aware of the diagnostic and therapeutic importance of countertransference.

keywords countertransference, psychoanalysis, transtheoretical concept