Countertransference in Groups – definition

*Definition of Countertransference
Countertransference concerns the therapists relation to the patient. The term is often loosely used to describe the whole of the therapist’s feelings and attitude towards her patient. Such a usage is very different from what was originally intended, and as a consequence confusion has arisen about the precise meaning of the term.
Freud (1910) originally saw counter-transference as a sort of ‘resistance’ in the analyst towards her patient, a resistance due to arousal of unconscious conflicts by what the patient says, does or represents to the analyst. (Therapists blind spots – impose limitations on the work that the therapist does) e.g. if an analyst is threatened by her own unconscious homosexual feelings, she may be unable to detect any homosexual implications in the patient’s material, or she may react with undue irritation to homosexual thoughts or wishes in the patient, may sidetrack the patient, etc.
In 1950 Analysts started to focus on the positive value on counter-transference. Here the analysts emotional responses to the understanding of the patient are seen as a key to the understanding of the patient (yet the analyst does not necessarily discuss this with the patient).
Countertransference, the therapists’ psychopathology, is always present in group psychotherapy.
Because of the transference (and countertransference) the perception or conception of another individual is distorted.