Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Countertransference (Psychology), Anger, Aggressiveness, Psychotherapists-Psychology, Aggression, Countertransference


This is a theoretical thesis focused on aggression in countertransference for the purpose of increasing clinicians' awareness and understanding of aggressive feelings and actions towards patients. Firstly, this research examines the evolution of theories about countertransference in psychoanalytic literature with attention to the experience of hate and aggression. Secondly, this research presents contemporary understandings of the behavioral features of aggression and considers a methodic examination of the behavioral manifestations of aggression in countertransference. Acting out one's aggressive instincts towards a client is potentially damaging to the therapeutic relationship. A classification system of aggressive behavior is outlined and applied to therapists' experiences of aggression toward a patient within the context of a therapeutic relationship. In this way, therapists may garner more precise information about themselves by becoming more observant of the ways their behavior discloses their aggressive instincts toward patients.




iii, 45 p. : ill. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 41-45)