By John Tsiantis, Anne-Marie Sandler
This choice of papers from psychoanalysts throughout Europe is meant to focus on the similarites and modifications among methods to operating with little ones and children.
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Extra resources for Countertransference in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents
For example, the child psychotherapist may become the receptor of transference feelings and reactions that are sometimes so massive a s to be dllflcult to cope with. Projective identiflcatlon is used by some children and adolescents as the rnaln tool for communicating and expressing needs, unbearable feelings, fragmented and disintegrated parts of themselves, and psychic traumas. It can then be very painful and dimcult for the therapist to allow herself to be used a s the container of these feelings while at the same time understanding what is being communicated.
COUNTERTRANSFERENCEISSUES 21 To put the matter briefly, the intense narcissism of adolescents and their rapidly-changing feelings and attitudes create particular dimculties for the therapist in containing them emotionally. Furthermore, the mingling of components from different developmental stages and the massive use of splitting and projective identification can lead to the development of intense feelings of countertransference. Adolescents often have a fragile relationship with reality and regress easily, while they also manifest an Inclination towards acting and acting-out.
These factors combine to create a complex emotional situation with intense transference reactions in which the therapist must apply an approach of empathy and flexibllity together with the insight needed to enable her to control her countertransference responses. It should be noted, however, that the time is not long gone since some therapists believed that the character structure and sense of identity of adolescents is too fluid and transitional to allow the development of transference and a stable therapeutic relationshlp, or that adolescents lacked the libido to make this possible.