Countertransference experiences of psychoanalytic psychotherapists working with anorexia patients

[Speaker] Card, Melissa:1
1:University of Johannesburg (South Africa(Republic of South Africa))

It has been argued that working therapeutically with anorexia patients can be very difficult for most healthcare professionals because of strong negative countertransference reactions. There are some psychotherapists, who refuse and others, who prefer to work with anorexia patients despite the difficulties associated with the treatment process. This study attempts to provide an understanding of countertransference experiences of psychotherapists willing to work with anorexia patients, as well as explore the negativity surrounding the treatment process of anorexia nervosa. Identification and management of countertransference reactions towards anorexia patients is critical to containing and maintaining the psychoanalytic therapeutic process. Using a phenomenological approach three psychotherapists working with anorexia patients were interviewed and their narratives were used to understand their struggles and triumphs in the therapeutic process. The main themes explored are: the therapeutic relationship, coping and management of countertransference and understanding theory.
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