Countertransference is a term that has many different meanings depending on the theoretical vantage point you are discussing it from. In Control Mastery Theory -We take countertransference to mean how does the therapist deal with their own feelings which come up in the course of a treatment. We take these affects very seriously and pay close attention to them. We think deeply about these feelings in order to understand the patient and what they are working on more fully. There are several good examples in the post above by Bill Burmester. We are trying to learn from the feelings generated inside us what trauma the patient is trying to master. For example if a therapist notices that they are feeling unusually anxious- the therapist would note this feeling and then reflect on why this might be- there are several possibilities. We would consider what the function of anxiety was in the patient's life- perhaps the patient has been made anxious by another or others have communicated to the patient that he or she made them ( a parent ) anxious. In addition a therapist would examine inside themselves for areas of uncomfortable issues or problems that might be triggered in order to be certain that they weren't reacting to their own unanalysised material. We all have our areas of common discomfort and stress. If the therapist finds herself responding in an unusual or strong manner, we find the most likely scenario is that there is a testing sequence going on. That does not mean that we blame the patient for making us feel a certain way- rather we take this as the patient's way of introducing us to his or her feelings world and allowing us to help them overcome one of their critical problems.
Now that doesn't mean it isn't unpleasant and difficult to be so used by our patients! But who ever said that this was easy! What thoughts or experiences do others have with affects created with your patients?