Recognizing and Managing Countertransference in the College Classroom: An Exploration of Expert Teachers' Inner Experiences

Rachel Slater, Patricia M Veach, Ziqiu Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Teacher countertransference refers to conscious and unconscious, negative or positive emotional reactions to certain students that arise from the teacher's own areas of personal conflict. Our investigation of 14 expert teachers' countertransference experiences in the college classroom, yielded several themes. Countertransference triggers included challenging behaviors (e. g., student disengagement from learning, hostility, manipulation). Countertransference reactions included frustration, the questioning of one's own judgment, and identification with students. Participants managed countertransference by seeking social support, maintaining their professionalism, thinking before responding, practicing self-reflection, building relationships with students, and drawing upon personal characteristics (values, empathy, conceptualization skills) and teaching experience. We suggest implications for teaching and recommendations for research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-17
Number of pages15
JournalInnovative Higher Education
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 17 2013

Keywords

  • College teachers
  • Countertransference
  • Emotional reactions
  • Inner experiences

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