School for Social Work
This study was conducted to explore the countertransferential responses in female clinicians who work with men who batter and to determine if the clinicians felt adequately trained and supported in their unique positions within the field of abuser intervention. Participants included nine female clinicians from the mid-Atlantic region of the United States who work or have worked with men who batter. The participants answered and expanded on five open-ended questions (three on clinical experience, and two on recommendations for the field) during an audio-recorded interview that lasted approximately one hour. The clinical questions asked participants to discuss (1) their motivations for working in the field of abuser intervention, (2) their feelings of being a female working with men who batter their female partners, (3) the range of feelings they have felt while working with men who batter. Some of the major findings of the research showed that all participants had experiences of their clients violating boundaries, generalizing women, and disrespecting the participants because they were female. The above behaviors and transferences of the clients were triggers for the participants and created a variety of countertransferential reactions including but not limited to feelings of being dismissed, offended, and objectified. Also notable was the participants' ability to process these reactions and look at the clients' behaviors from a wider perspective—from a place of understanding of the whole client and path that brought him into treatment. Once the clients' behaviors were better understood the participants could move the treatment forward.
Banks, Georgia Louise, "Taking the bait : countertransference among female clinicians who work with men who batter" (2008). Masters Thesis, Smith College, Northampton, MA.