Social work students’ experience and management of countertransference

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dc.contributor.advisor Prof. Adrian D. van Breda en_US
dc.contributor.author Feller, Terry
dc.date.accessioned 2012-07-31T07:32:32Z
dc.date.available 2012-07-31T07:32:32Z
dc.date.issued 2012-07-31
dc.date.submitted 2012-06-04
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/5327
dc.description M.A. en_US
dc.description.abstract It is widely known that countertransference that is not understood or managed can result in ineffective treatment, inaccurate diagnosis and premature termination of counselling by the client or student social worker. This dissertation seeks to answer the question: “How do social work students experience and manage countertransference with their clients in their counselling process in the absence of former knowledge of this phenomenon?” A qualitative, phenomenological research design was used. There were five participants in the study, all of whom were third year social work students at the University of Johannesburg. This study was exploratory in nature and used semi-structured interviews to expose the students‟ personal countertransference experiences with as much richness and depth as possible. The history of countertransference is outlined, followed by a review of how to understand and use this construct. The participating students‟ experience of unrecognised countertransference forms the data, from which a better understanding of this phenomenon is gained. It is observed throughout this study that the students were distressed by their countertransferential experience, which left them feeling overwhelmed and confused. Such a response is understandable, given that the students had inadequate knowledge of countertransference and therefore could not understand the dynamics of countertransference or effectively manage and utilise countertransference in counselling. Five themes emerge that are consistent with the prior literature on countertransference in the therapeutic milieu. Findings from this study may broaden insight on the various ways in which the lack of training and knowledge of managing countertransference affect the social work student-client dynamic. The study concludes that (1) countertransference clearly affects the counselling process, and when students have little former knowledge or understanding of countertransference, they often feel overwhelmed. (2) Students do struggle with their unmanaged countertransference, which produces feelings of incompetence and ineffectiveness. (3) The students showed ability and interest in understanding how their countertransference impacted on themselves and the counselling process. Supervision can be a helpful tool to foster openness and understanding, so that students can explore their countertransferential experience. (4) The need for education and training in management of countertransference in students‟ internship programme is critical. While more research is indicated, the results of this study provide a deeper understanding of countertransference, and the importance of teaching this phenomenon as part of undergraduate students‟ learning process. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Countertransference (Psychology) en_US
dc.subject Social service en_US
dc.subject Counseling
dc.subject Social work education
dc.title Social work students’ experience and management of countertransference en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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