Countertransference and the reputedly excellent therapist

S. L. Van Wagoner, J. A. Hayes, C. J. Gelso, R. A. Diemer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


The extent to which therapists who were reputed to be excellent differ from the therapists in general is examined, with respect to five qualities theorized to be important in the management of countertransference feelings - self-insight, integration, empathy, anxiety management, and conceptualizing ability. A sample of experienced psychotherapists (n = 122) evaluated therapists they selected as excellent significantly more positively than therapists in general on all five of the theorized qualities. Contrary to expectation, reputedly excellent psychodynamic, learning, and humanistic therapists were generally rated as equivalent on these theorized qualities. Reputedly excellent psychodynamic therapists, however, were rated more favorably than excellent humanistic therapists on conceptualizing ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-421
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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