Countertransference in successful and unsuccessful cases of psychotherapy

Jeffrey A. Hayes, Dana Lea B. Nelson, James Fauth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Countertransference (CT) can provide psychotherapists with important information about relationship dynamics with clients, the therapy process, and clinical decisions. CT also can lead therapists to view clients and sessions inaccurately, feel unduly anxious, and behave in ways that primarily meet their own needs at the expense of clients. In summarizing existing scholarship on CT, Fauth (2006) noted the need for further research on therapists' subjective experiences of CT to enhance current understanding of this pantheoretical construct. To this end, we interviewed 18 therapists about their experiences of CT in a recently terminated case; half of the therapists described CT in a case they judged to be successful, and half described a case they thought was unsuccessful. Interview questions were designed to address the 5 components of CT proposed by Hayes (1995): origins, triggers, manifestations, effects, and management. A grounded theory analysis was conducted and a model describing therapists' experiences of CT in successful and unsuccessful therapy was developed. Implications for practice, training, and research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-133
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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