Countertransference: Making the unconscious conscious

Krista Redlinger-Grosse

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


To promote awareness and discussion of countertransference, this chapter outlines the origins and triggers of countertransference, manifestation of countertransference by genetic counselors; and both positive and negative effects of countertransference on genetic counseling processes and outcomes. It discusses six general categories of life experiences that comprise potential sources of genetic counselor countertransference: family dynamics, developmental life processes, life vulnerabilities, cultural background, professional training and socialization, and contemporary issues. The chapter describes four general types of circumstances that are particularly common in triggering countertransference: patient characteristics; disease, disability, and loss; diversity issues; and challenging genetic counseling situations. In simple terms, the impact of countertransference can be adaptive, maladaptive or both. The key distinction between an adaptive or maladaptive response to countertransference is recognition and self-awareness. The chapter also presents strategies to help genetic counselors cultivate awareness and effective management of countertransference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGenetic Counseling Practice
Subtitle of host publicationAdvanced Concepts and Skills
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781119529873
ISBN (Print)9781119529859
StatePublished - Sep 9 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Countertransference
  • Countertransference management strategies
  • Family dynamics
  • Genetic counseling
  • Life vulnerabilities
  • Patient characteristics
  • Self-awareness


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