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Alternative Title

Orthodox Jewish therapists' countertransference with Orthodox Jewish patients

Publication Date


Document Type



School for Social Work


Jewish psychotherapists-Psychology, Jew-Mental health, Orthodox Judaism, Countertransference (Psychology), Psychotherapist and patient, Cultural competence, Empirical research, Intracultural competence, Orthodox Jewish therapists, Cultural counter transference, Countertransference, Psychotherapy, Judaism, Religion


The purpose of this exploratory quantitative study was to examine and measure the countertransference (CT) experiences of Orthodox Jewish therapists that work with Orthodox Jewish patients and to determine how this may impact clinical judgment. Therapists (N=101) that identified as Orthodox Jewish were asked to read one randomly assigned case study about different types of Orthodox Jewish patients (Liberal Modern Orthodox or Traditional/Socially Conservative Modern Orthodox) or a non-religiously identified patient and to then complete surveys that were designed to measure their CT responses. This study examined the effect of patient and clinician ideology on clinical judgment and CT and looked at the effects of within group differences. The findings of this study indicate that Orthodox Jewish Therapists have no greater or lesser level of CT when working with Orthodox Jewish patients. Additional findings indicate that the more years of clinical experience Orthodox Jewish therapists have, the less anxiety-based CT therapists felt with their patients. Additional results indicated that roughly half of the therapists participating in the study (N=46) felt their Orthodox Jewish identity has negatively impacted their work with their clients. The insights gained through this study should encourage future research about the Orthodox Jewish community and the mental health services provided to them by Orthodox Jewish therapists. Future research should also examine interactions that may arise in other intra-cultural dyads.




vii, 123 pages. Ph.D. Dissertation-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 92-102)