cover of book

Countertransference in Perspective: The Double-Edged Sword of the Patient-Therapist Emotional Relationship
edited by Dov R. Aleksandrowicz and Anna O. Aleksandrowicz
Sussex Academic Press, 2022
Paper: 978-1-84519-791-9 | eISBN: 978-1-78284-324-5
Library of Congress Classification RC480.C692 2017
Dewey Decimal Classification 616.8914

In psychoanalysis the term countertransference, coined by Freud, describes the complex emotional relation between therapist and patient. The term is nowadays used in a broad sense, referring to the entire range of emotions experienced by the therapist/analyst covering many types of therapeutic process. Today's mental-health practitioners are called upon to deal with a wide variety of challenges, some of them highly emotionally-charged, such as child abuse, gender identity or catastrophic loss. This book comprises three main parts: Part I -- The History of Countertransference; Part II -- The Clinical Challenge and Part III -- The Biological Roots of Counter- transference. After essays in Part I introducing the subject and the history of the concept, as reflected in the classic literature (Kernberg, Heimann, Searles, Balint and Main), Part II presents a range of clinical challenges, analysed by contributor colleagues with extensive experience in these and similar issues. It also addresses Holocaust survivor issues, and child survivor experiences of the Nazi euthanasia programme. The study of counter-transference, like other psychoanalytic issues, has recently become enriched by the striking advances in the study of the living brain and of animal behaviour (the published works of Panksepp, Hoffer). Part III engages with recent findings regarding the biological roots that have implications for the understanding of counter-transference. A Summary to the volume presents the overall conclusions to the findings presented in the three parts. The book is intended for mental health and other human service practitioners, such as physicians, educators, jurists and human resource managers. *** "D. Aleksandrowicz, a training analyst at the Israeli Institute of Psychoanalysis, and A. Aleksandrowicz, a science writer and editor, have edited a fine collection of 13 essays investigating different dimensions of countertransference... Essays cover the terrain well, with a solid historical account of the development of countertransference as a concept, followed by essays exploring the clinical challenges of therapeutic work... A final essay, the best in the collection, examines the moral and social implications of the processes of teaching and relating, captured in the term "cosmopolitan empathy." This book is a welcome addition to the growing literature on empathy, compassion, and human relatedness in general, and is of special value to practitioners and students of psychology and the related human sciences." Recommended! --Choice, Vol. 55, No. 5 January 2018

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