ERIC Number: ED186803
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979
Reference Count: 0
The Complex Relationship Between Therapist Countertransference and Empathy Level.
Peabody, Shelley Ann
The relationship between therapist empathy skill level and therapist non-defensive awareness of countertransference phenomena with three client types, i.e., seductive, hostile and neutral affect, was investigated. Therapists in training (n=22) were administered the Yulis and Kiesler immediacy measure as a measure of non-countertransference behavior. To assess empathy skill level, the client form of the Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventory was administered to 22 volunteer clients after they experienced a single counseling session with the therapist. A significant positive correlation was observed between the therapist empathy level amd immediacy score, but only for the therapist immediacy score with the seductive client. A questionnaire completed by the therapists further explored the relationship between empathy and countertransference; a positive correlation was found between therapist openness to non-defensive awareness of their countertransference feelings and the therapist's empathic skill level. Compared to less empathic therapists, highly empathic therapists were more consciously open to the experience of countertransference feelings while less prone to display countertransference behavior. (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (87th, New York, NY, September 1-5, 1979).