Transference and Countertransference

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Specific skills and knowledge are essential for a social worker working with children. Understanding transference and countertransference is crucial to a healthy therapeutic relationship. Both transference and countertransference can be evident in any client–therapist relationship, but are especially important in working with children because of a common instinct among adults to protect and nurture the young. The projection or relocation of one’s feelings about one person onto another, otherwise known as transference, is a common response by children (Gil, 1991). Countertransference, a practitioner’s own emotional response to a child, is also common.

For this Discussion, review the Malawista (2004) article.

Post your explanation why transference and countertransference are so common when working with children. Then, identify some strategies you might use to address both transference and countertransference in your work with children.

Malawista, K. L. (2004). Rescue fantasies in child therapy: countertransference/transference enactments. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, 21(4), 373–386.

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