Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Transference (Psychology), Psychotherapist and patient, Psychotherapists - In-service training, Qualitative research, Transference, Personal therapy, Practice, Clinical trainee, Clincian-in-training, Social work, Therapy, Counseling


This study was conducted in pursuit of the answer to the following question: what is the experience of transference in the personal therapy of clinicians-in-training and how does this unique therapeutic relationship influence the practice of clinical trainees? This study utilized exploratory qualitative intensive interviews. Participants included individuals who were enrolled in a masters in social work (MSW), counseling, or clinical psychology program; participant had to have aspirations to be a therapist, voluntarily be in personal therapy, and reside in the United States. Questions were designed to draw from subjects their experiences of transference, specifically those that arose as a result of the participant being a trainee in the same field as their therapist, and how their relationship with their therapist impacted practice. Findings resulted in three major themes: conceptualizations of transference, experience of transference in personal therapy, and the impacts of being emerging colleagues. Respondents generally agreed on the nature of transference and expressed a variety of transferential experiences, including idealization, admiration of professional skills, and fear of judgement regarding clinical skills. Interviewees reflected on how their relationship with their therapist impacted their practice.




iii, 57 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2015. Includes bibliographical references (pages 47-50)