The purpose of this paper is to appraise “transference” and “countertransference” when working with people with intellectual disabilities (PWID).
A review of the literature was conducted, followed by a discussion.
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 is needed to further current understanding of these issues.
An awareness of these issues amongst practitioners and other key members of a PWID’s system is important.
This is the first review and commentary on these issues.
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
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