In this article, we review the history and definition of countertransference, as well as empirical research on countertransference, its management, and the relation of both with psychotherapy outcome. Three meta-analyses are presented, as well as studies that illustrate findings from the meta-analyses. The first meta-analysis indicated that countertransference reactions are related inversely and modestly to psychotherapy outcomes (r .16, p-.02, 95% CI [.30, .03], d-0.33, k-14 studies, N-973). A second meta-analysis supported the notion that countertransference management factors attenuate countertransference reactions (r-.27, p-.001, 95% CI [.43, .10], d-0.55, k-13 studies, N-1,065). The final meta-analysis revealed that successful countertransference management is related to better therapy outcomes (r .39, p .001, 95% CI [.17, .60], d-0.84, k-9 studies, N-392 participants). In all meta-analyses, there was significant heterogeneity across studies. We conclude by summarizing the limitations of the research base and highlighting the therapeutic practices predicated on research.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health