Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Countertransference in Couples Therapy

  • Florence W. KaslowEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_2


This article explicates various theoretical perspectives in the vast array of couples’ treatment modalities. It presents an historical overview of major schools of thought and highlights the phenomena of transference and countertransference. Several difficult kinds of patient populations where these twin phenomena are apt to occur are discussed illustratively. The intertwined, reciprocal complex dynamics of transference and countertransference are core elements.

“Countertransference” is used to denote the clinician’s reactions to patient transferences which arise unexpectedly from the therapist’s own unresolved feelings towards his or her parents and/or siblings. These emotional responses usually encompass unconscious projections of thoughts and feelings connected to one’s own family members onto clients. Such reactions, triggered in the therapist, are attributable to the fact that how a client acts, looks, expresses his thoughts and emotions, or the information the...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kaslow AssociatesPalm Beach GardensUSA
  2. 2.Florida Institute of TechnologyMelbourneUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Molly F. Gasbarrini
    • 1
  1. 1.Alliant International UniversityLos AngelesUSA