Presence and Involvement: Personal Perspectives on Countertransference

Richard G. Erskine


Reactive countertransference is nontherapeutic, whereas responsive countertransference is an integral aspect of psychotherapy when the psychotherapist is attuned to the client’s affect and needs. Personal examples are used to illustrate the concepts of responsive and reactive countertransference. Awareness and use of each form of countertransference is essential. The psychotherapist’s stance of presence and involvement delineates the necessary elements of an effective relationally focused psychotherapy. 


countertransference; reactive countertransference; responsive countertransference; resonance; transference; developmental image; presence; involvement; relational psychotherapy; integrative psychotherapy

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