Countertransference is the response elicited in the therapist due to the patient’s unconscious projection of transference communications. The therapist’s emotional reactions to the patient are based on the therapist’s unconscious needs and conflicts, as distinguished from his or her conscious responses to the patient’s behavior. Countertransference may interfere with the therapist’s ability to understand the patient and may adversely affect the therapeutic technique. Reaction and reflection is required to prevent inappropriate acting out.
A patient with borderline personality disorder has been admitted to the in-patient unit. She has been extremely resistant to treatment and has had multiple overdoses in the past. The doctor begins to feel confused, angry and frustrated (transference projections from the patient) and impulsively asks the staff to discharge the patient.