Psychiatric Services


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Countertransference, the therapist’s emotional reactions to the patient, is potentially one of the therapist’s richest sources of information. The therapist-in-training learns through sound supervision that understanding personal feelings can clarify the meaning of the therapeutic process. The supervisory relationship, like the therapeutic relationship, is fraught with hazards and requires a sense of safety and trust if problematic feelings are to be brought to full awareness, accepted, and used therapeutically. In this story a psychiatric resident is anxious and confused because of her empathic involvement with a patient. Her supervisor, instead of helping her to understand that these feelings are the price one pays for practicing the “impossible profession,” increases her sense of powerlessness by his arrogance and presumptuousness. (31 pp.)

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