Working with persons with an intellectual disability: the transferential process between therapist and client and the systems they inhabit

Pádraig Cotter (School of Psychology, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)
Sara Hollwey (School of Psychology, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)
Alan Carr (School of Psychology, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)

Tizard Learning Disability Review

ISSN: 1359-5474

Publication date: 3 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to appraise “transference” and “countertransference” when working with people with intellectual disabilities (PWID).

Design/methodology/approach

A review of the literature was conducted, followed by a discussion.

Findings

No research articles were found. Potential reasons for this are discussed. Historical influence, complexity of the topic and resistance among professionals may be contributing factors. Despite this, these phenomena are important for several reasons. These include the high levels of trauma these clients experience; the manner in which they have been marginalised by mainstream society; the strong likelihood of PWID evoking difficult countertransference from therapists; and the myriad of coping mechanisms and defences that these clients may employ.

Research limitations/implications

Research is needed to further current understanding of these issues.

Practical implications

An awareness of these issues amongst practitioners and other key members of a PWID’s system is important.

Originality/value

This is the first review and commentary on these issues.

Keywords

Citation

Cotter, P., Hollwey, S. and Carr, A. (2017), "Working with persons with an intellectual disability: the transferential process between therapist and client and the systems they inhabit", Tizard Learning Disability Review, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 136-143. https://doi.org/10.1108/TLDR-09-2016-0026

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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