May 1974

Countertransference Hate in the Treatment of Suicidal Patients

Author Affiliations

Cambridge, Mass
From the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, (Dr. Maltsberger), and the Department of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston (Dr. Buie).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1974;30(5):625-633. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1974.01760110049005

The countertransference hatred (feelings of malice and aversion) that suicidal patients arouse in the psychotherapist is a major obstacle in treatment; its management through full awareness and self-restraint is essential for successful results. The therapist's repression, turning against himself, reaction formation, projection, distortion, and denial of countertransference hatred increase the danger of suicide. Such antitherapeutic stances, their recognition, and the related potential for constructive or destructive action are the subject of this paper.