ERIC Number: ED326774
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Psychotherapy with AIDS Patients: Countertransference Issues.
Wilk, Carole A.
This paper provides a personal account of the process of psychotherapy for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) patients, as seen from both the client's and the psychotherapist's perspective, with a focus on countertransference issues found in the early phases of treatment. Based on case material, the discussion explores themes presented by 16 AIDS patients in the Lake County (Illinois) AIDS Support Group and a separate AIDS information and family support group. The discussion is organized around the three stages of the disease: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) positive diagnosis; the AIDS-related complex; and the terminal stage of AIDS. Each section provides a discussion of psychological tasks and countertransference issues associated with critical events of each stage: (1) the decision to be tested, psychological response to a positive diagnosis, and developing a medical response; (2) effects of AIDS on functioning and relationships and on lifestyle; and (3) serious medical complications, loss of independence, struggle for acceptance of self and others, unfinished business, and acceptance of death. The countertransference themes include collusion with the patient's denial, unconscious distancing by the therapist, confrontation with personal mortality, survivor guilt, management of a borderline AIDS patient, unconscious prejudice, response to the death of a child, and resistance to a change in the therapist's traditional role. (TE)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (98th, Boston, MA, August 10-14, 1990).