What distinguishes therapists who enabled their traumatized clients to be fully heard and appropriately address their traumatic histories, from their no less generally competent and empathic colleagues in whose workrooms silence reigns with regard to (interpersonal) traumatization? This question has given rise to the author's conceptualization of a priori countertransference that may determine therapists' attitudes and perception even before meeting actual clients. The life stories of participating trauma therapists and forty years of an English language professional journal, published in Israel, have been analyzed in order to uncover and map personal, familial and societal factors that may contribute to a priori countertransference. The interviewed therapists work with Holocaust survivors and the Second Generation and/or people who have had to endure sexual abuse. These specializations present two examples of devastating, public and secret, interpersonal traumatization. It has been widely documented that these, and related traumas have, over decades, been ignored in otherwise satisfactory psychotherapy. The societal context – historically, trauma awareness has fluctuated greatly both within the mental health profession and society at large – is here provided by Israel, where both the participating therapists and the author live. It provides an excellent study ground for societal influences because it is a multicultural society and has not yet achieved existential security. Thus it can serve as a microcosm of challenges therapists may face anywhere. Hopefully, the outlined sources of possible a priori countertransference will provide a structure on which to base ongoing self-monitoring by practicing therapists as well as professional training programs.
|Original language||American English|
|Award date||27 Oct 2008|
|Publication status||Published - 27 Oct 2008|