Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

2020 Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford


  • Claire CartwrightEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_888



Countertransference can be broadly understood as the therapist’s emotional-cognitive and behavioral responses to clients in therapy or at least those responses that are potentially problematic.


The construct of countertransference has a rich psychoanalytic history beginning with Freud who was the first person to write about these therapist experiences. The construct has evolved and is perhaps still evolving as researchers and therapists continue to debate what is, and is not, countertransference. While emphasis has traditionally been placed on the emotional responses of therapists toward therapy clients, there is general agreement that countertransference refers to the cognitive-affective responses of the therapist toward the client in therapy that can manifest in countertransference enactment or countertransference behaviors. Countertransference behaviors...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

Section editors and affiliations

  • Bradley A. Green
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Southern MississippiHattiesburgUSA