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Old 05-24-2019, 05:30 AM #1
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Smile What are some subtle signs of positive countertransference?

I don't necessarily mean "countertransference" in a negative way. Do you think that there are ways to tell if your T likes you on a more personal level (not necessarily romantic), or that they enjoy your company? Do they regularly extend the session beyond the 50 minutes you paid for? Do they allow outside contact? Disclose personal information with the aim of strengthening the rapport? Make daring (not inappropriate) jokes?

Sometimes my T does these things and it feels right in that I am able to open up a lot more when he doesn't keep strict boundaries. I also noticed that I tend to make more progress when he is more human. My need for him throughout the week lessens when he gives me "more" in sessions.
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Old 05-24-2019, 06:24 AM #2
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Default Re: What are some subtle signs of positive countertransference?

With my T, one thing is his just sort of chatting with me about things. Not personal disclosure stuff so much, but just chatting about, say, a particular movie or song. He said at one point early on in seeing me how sometimes with clients he's been seeing for a longer time and is familiar with, he briefly forgets that they're talking as T--client and will find himself just chatting with them, then he'll catch himself. I feel that's what he's doing with me, because I've now been seeing him a year and a half, and he didn't really do that in the first, say, 6 months or so. Joking with me. Getting more of a sense that he seems genuinely sad if I tell him, say, that a friend was struggling or that my D said that kids in her class were being mean to her. And me often having to be the one who notes that we're out of time, though he's said before that he's not good at keeping time. Maybe a better example is him seeming surprised that we're out of time, like it went quickly to him as well. Letting me go a couple minutes over. Oh, and I guess his being willing to reduce my rate because insurance is paying me less now. So, lots of things.


With ex-MC, he'd let us go like 20 minutes over sometimes. But one of the biggest things for me that suggested countertransference was his allowing me to contact him individually outside of session. That he'd allow emails and, particularly, occasional phone calls, lasting up to 45 minutes, with no charge (current T charges for phone calls and long emails). Also his teasing me and joking with me--including if it was when I wasn't with H (like on the phone or if I saw him in the waiting room while I was there for ex-T or ex-p-doc.
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Old 05-24-2019, 06:46 AM #3
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Default Re: What are some subtle signs of positive countertransference?

She has told me multiple times she cares about me. Once she asked me a question and I clarified if she was asking the question in regards to me personally or people in general. She responded that while she cared about people in general I was the person she really cared about.

We always go about 70 minutes; she does 1 hour appointments. When I have apologized she tells me it to. It is her responsibility to keep track of the time. The click is next to me and I cant see it. She says she enjoys talking to me and our work. I am her last person of the day so she isnt in a hurry to end.

She does texting and phones calls. Whenever I express feeling needy she reassures me that it isnt the case and shai. She enjoys our work and that I allow myself to be open with her.
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:09 AM #4
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Default Re: What are some subtle signs of positive countertransference?

My last T would tell me his positive feelings for me directly. With this T, I see him interested and engaged and empathetic. Smiling at something I say and playful banter may be indicators.

It also feels like he cares when he holds the therapy frame and exercises good boundaries, such as not engaging in certain types of emails and texts with me.

I don't necessarily think extending a session and other ways of going outside of the frame as positive in a broader sense as those behaviors can come from a T trying to meet their own needs. Positive countertransference can interfere negatively with treatment.
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:42 AM #5
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Default Re: What are some subtle signs of positive countertransference?

My first T said several times that apparently many therapists go over time because they don't feel they are doing/helping enough and want to do more. Don't know if that is true. My second T went over the 45-50 mins often, not very much but 5-10 mins and it wasn't consistent. He definitely looked like he was doing it because he enjoyed the interaction and that was also my reason to stay for it.

I saw when they had positive feelings/motivations just like in any other interpersonal interaction, from subtle non-verbal signs to how they engaged with me. It never even occurred to me to doubt it. Similar for when they seemed less interested, engaged, distracted and obviously not fully there in mind. I am not sure these things always indicate their feelings toward the client though, I think it is often just a default mood state they are in.
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:48 AM #6
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Default Re: What are some subtle signs of positive countertransference?

Most ts have feelings for clients, they are human after all. However it doesn't always mean they wish you were friends or want to date. It's often more they enjoy your sessions or you say things that remind them of someone

They might even think you remind them of clients past they miss. Who knows?

Just be careful with it all. Don't get top caught up in it. Keep a realistic view of it all so you don't end up like me.

Alot of those things posted here as examples too are just showing some ts are good people. Likely they do that stuff for many clients which being where I am now, is best. I love nothing more than being just like the rest or majority

As long as they don't want you romantically which is very rare anyway, I think you are ok in small doses
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Old 05-24-2019, 08:14 AM #7
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Default Re: What are some subtle signs of positive countertransference?

Being adored is seductive. Therapists engage in ways that make them feel good about themselves. Their terms of transference and counter-transference are, to me, terms that let therapists think they are better than they really are.
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Old 05-24-2019, 08:45 AM #8
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Default Re: What are some subtle signs of positive countertransference?

My T likes me. I know because he has said so, and because of his general manner. Also he offered to reduce my fee by a lot when I was unemployed. He doesn't extend sessions, offer outside contact, or make "daring" jokes (I'm not sure what this means).

I don't know if that's countertransference though? I think it's possible he just likes me as a person, without being reminded of his mother or sister or something.
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Old 05-24-2019, 09:08 AM #9
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Default Re: What are some subtle signs of positive countertransference?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Salmon77 View Post
My T likes me. I know because he has said so, and because of his general manner. Also he offered to reduce my fee by a lot when I was unemployed. He doesn't extend sessions, offer outside contact, or make "daring" jokes (I'm not sure what this means).

I don't know if that's countertransference though? I think it's possible he just likes me as a person, without being reminded of his mother or sister or something.

You make a good point here that it's not necessarily countertransference. I also feel my T just likes me as a person, and I imagine we'd get along fairly well if we'd met in some other setting, too.


With ex-MC though, I think that while he presumably liked me as a person (and he's said "I like you guys" to me and H before), there was also some paternal and/or erotic countertransference going on that led him to be loose and inconsistent with boundaries and things he said to me.
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Old 05-24-2019, 09:32 AM #10
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Default Re: What are some subtle signs of positive countertransference?

I have to agree it can be difficult to correctly interpret the subtle signs. My current T can be blank slate or neutral, and I often have no clue as to what he may be thinking or feeling, so that's all I have to go by aside from asking him directly. I am very perceptive though, and can often tell when he is distracted by something in his personal life or has a headache or is tired as he will confirm. I've been wrong plenty of times too though.

The one T I had gave me gifts and 2 hour sessions, so that was more obvious. I think he enjoyed that I adored him, idealized/was in love with him, but it's positive transference nonetheless.

I agree that's its not always transference, and come to think of it, probably not all with current T, but it depends on how you define it. I am certain there was countertransference was last T though.
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