Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exploring Countertransference of Therapists Providing Treatment to Perpetrators of War Atrocities
by Jennings-Miller, Vivian, Ph.D., Institute for Clinical Social Work (Chicago), 2016, 184; 10749327
Abstract (Summary)

The task of providing therapy to some of America’s most heroic combat Veterans can be both rewarding and daunting. Addressing the physical and emotional wounds of war takes a dedication that most clinical social workers accept with pride. However, working with our nation’s heroes who disclose being perpetrators of war atrocities can prove a more difficult task.

This qualitative research study shed light on the experience of countertransference as experienced by therapists whose patients have disclosed committing a war atrocity. In an attempt to understand and explain these reactions, a comprehensive literature review was presented within the perspective of relational theory. The relationship between the reported countertransference reactions and the treatment was then highlighted. This research suggested steps for improving the difficult task of providing therapy with this population and also providing useful support to those who work with these challenging patients. Ultimately, this research drew attention to how those reactions encourage and hinder treatment. The findings that emerge from this research suggest that there are commonly strong negative reactions to patients, hidden feelings of disconnection with those patients, and a deep therapist hunger to engage in sensationalism of patient’s disclosures. This dissertation concludes by proposing recommendations that would promote healthy use of countertransference reactions within social work practice.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lampe, James
Commitee:
School: Institute for Clinical Social Work (Chicago)
Department: Clinical Social Work
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 82/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Social work, Therapy, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Countertransference , Therapists, Perpetrators of war atrocities
Publication Number: 10749327
ISBN: 9798664745528
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