Countertransference: Clinical Theory and Technique

Instructor:  Eva D. Papiasvili, PhD, ABPP

1st trimester of the (advanced standing) training programs in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis (This course can be taken also as a separate certificate course, with or without the group supervision class)

Dates: October 6, October 27, November 17, December 15, 2017, Fridays, 5:30-7:40pm.

Virtual participation – via audio/video or audio only

Tuition: $450/ 10-week course/ trimester  (can be paid in 2 installments, upon request). Registration: $25/course (waived for candidates in training) - can be paid by CC via PayPal - follow the link: PayPal.Me/ORINYC

Course Description:

“Countertransference is one of the most transformed and transforming concepts in psychoanalysis.  It needs to be approached historically, theoretically, empirically and experientially. Today, the concept denotes quite a range of the analyst’s feelings (conscious and unconscious), thoughts and attitudes towards the patient in the analytic situation.  In the broadest sense it can refer to the totality of feelings, attitudes and thoughts a therapist may have about or towards patients. Most narrowly, countertransference can refer to quite specific, mostly unconscious responses to the transference of the patients—literally counter to the patient’s transference. As one of the most complex and complexly evolving concepts in psychoanalysis, with many meanings across the spectrum of international orientations today, it is generally acknowledged that the experience of countertransference has both potential benefits and dangers. As a necessary part of the transference-countertransference matrix, it reflects a vital, if divergently conceptualized, interactive dimension of psychoanalysis.” (IPA Inter-Regional Encyclopedic Dictionary of Psychoanalysis, 2017)

The course will follow its multiple meanings in evolution from its historical roots, to the most contemporary trends, representing and exploring contributions and perspectives of all psychoanalytic schools, with emphasis on the major contribution of Object Relations Theories.  The state of the art global knowledge of the subject and related course material will draw on Dr. Papiasvili’s recent work with the IPA Inter-Regional Encyclopedic Dictionary team of European, North American and Latin American consultants, resulting in in depth researched entry COUNTERTRANSFERENCE, fully representative of all classical and contemporary perspectives, in evolution, now published on the IPA website.  

Learning Goals:

Upon the completion of this advanced level course, the participants will be able to:

1.      Discuss and analyze the evolution of the concept of countertransference in theory and clinical practice;

2.      Utilize the understanding of countertransference in their clinical work, thus increasing their moment-to-moment clinical effectiveness

3.      The participants will be able to evaluate their responses to the patients as to their objective-subjective value and more accurate diagnostic and prognostic assessment of their patients, as well as increase their overall clinical effectiveness


Introduction: Overview of the evolution of the views on Countertransference: From the narrow definition through progressive broadening of the term, to the divergently conceptualized interactive dimension of psychoanalysis; and introduction of the term’s  different meanings. (Freud, A. Reich, Lacan vs. Ferenczi, Racker,  Heimann)

Narrow Definition in Depth: Evolution of Freud’s thinking on the subject, and further developments in A. Reich, H. Deutsch, O. Fenichel, J. Lacan.

MEETING 2: Basic Contouring of the Wider Conceptualization of Countertransference: 1920’2 – 1950’s Hungary, Great Britain, Argentina (Ferenczi, Balint, Klein, Heimann, Brierley, Winnicott, Racker)

MEETING 3: Further Lines of Expansion: Second Half of the 20th Century Europe, Latin America and North America (Bion, Grinberg, Roselfeld, Sandler, Laplanche, Aulagnier, Loewald, Searles, From-Reichman, Bromberg)

MEETING 4: Contemporary Freudian and Object Relations Theories an Transference-Countertransference (including Enactment) Matrix (Jacobs, Kernberg, Mitchel, Lasky,  Apprey); Field Theories (W. and M. Barangers, Ferro, Civitarese,); Inter-Subjective and Inter-psychic Focus (Harris, Bolognini, Faimberg, Haber&Haber); Common Ground (Gabbard)

Readings: The theoretical (readings and lecture) material will be accompanied by case vignettes from the instructor’s as well as the course participants’ practice.


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