Transference and countertransference are common occurrences in the field of social work. This can be especially true when working with children. I think most adults have instincts geared towards protecting children. Transference occurs when there is the redirection of a person’s feelings towards the therapist or social worker. Countertransference occurs when the therapist projects their feelings towards the client (Fritscher, 2021). In most cases, children are not very skilled at expressing their emotions with words. This means people in a clinical role need to be very aware of non-verbal expressions, and this can sometimes lead to a social worker experiencing countertransference. Transference and countertransference are more common while working with children because many adults want to rescue children (Malawista, 2004). Basically, they are allowing their emotions to get in the way. They are creating a fantasy where they get to play the hero, and their need and instinct to protect the child are fulfilled. A strategy I would use to help prevent this is self-evaluation. Part of making ethical decisions involves being self-aware. Before and after each session is a good time to reflect on the session and consider your own emotional reactions. By becoming more aware of what you are feeling and why, we can learn to challenge the emotional pull, and focus more on what interventions will best serve the client. According to Malawista (2004), “through awareness, she was able to see that the issue was not the boy’s parents completely, but it was his anger towards his sister that needed to be resolved.” This is a great example of how both transference and countertransference can effect decision-making. References: Malawista, K. L. (2004). Rescue fantasies in child therapy: Countertransference/Transference enactments. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 21(4), 373-386. https://doi.org/10.1023/b:casw.0000035222.16367.32 Fritscher, L. (2021, May 24). How counter-transference can impact your therapeutic relationship. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/counter-transference-2671577 Stella’s Discussion (half page response) 1source While working with children, countertransference and transference will allow the social worker to understand the child’s past and present relationships. In order to detect transference and countertransference, the social worker must utilize strong strong assessment skills. Transference is the deflection of a client’s feelings faced from client to social worker. With the help of Transference, the social worker is able to attain the ability to understand the client, and the clients will have expectations due to past experiences. It is important to pay attention to the transference responses of children, and in the opinion of Schowalter (1986), these messages may be nonverbal cues that can help explain the emotions of the clients. Countertransference is the social worker’s opinion towards the client. In using countertransference the social worker must be aware of their personal bias. It is important to be aware of personal bias to be able to empathize and be open-minded when working with clients. When working with children, it is important to include parents and guardians during the therapy. If the child does not want the parents or guardian present, it is important that the social worker keeps in mind HIPPA and confidentiality violations. The social worker may inform the parents or guardian of what is going on, but the social worker may not go into detail about what the child discloses to them unless it poses imminent harm to themselves or others. According to Christogiorgos & Giannakopoulos (2015), it is essential to build a good working relationship with parents or guardians to guarantee the achievement for the child’s therapy, ” they need the parents to continue and complete their treatment”. Building rapport with the children, parents, and guardians will likely have successful outcomes for the interventions. It is important to create a good team to work with that is a support system for the child. It is very important to build rapport with the child so that the child feels comfortable enough to disclose how they are feeling, and disclose any information to the social worker. References Christogiorgos, S., & Giannakopoulos, G. (2015). Parental presence and countertransference phenomena in psychoanalytic psychotherapy of children and adolescents. Psychoanalytic social work, 22(1),1-11 Schowalter, J. E. (1986) Countertransference in working with children. Review of neglected concepts. Journal of American Academy of child Psychiatry.25
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