The roles of differentiation of self, emotional self awareness and anxiety on destructive countertransference reactions
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The present study investigated the mediating role of emotional self awareness and state anxiety in predicting overinvolved and underinvolved countertransference feelings and behaviors from level of differentiation of self. The study was a between subjects design with participant counselors randomly assigned to viewing an interpersonally hostile-submissive (low demand) or interpersonally hostile-dominant (high demand) video client. At ten time points in the video participants rated overinvolved, underinvolved and appropriate responses to the client, according to the likelihood that they would actually say the given responses. After the video session, participants also rated items measuring their underinvolved and overinvolved feelings in towards their client. Mediation was not observed as initially hypothesized. Follow up analyses suggested that both clarity of feelings (emotional self awareness) and anxiety may only be predictive of countertransference feelings, not behaviors. Additionally, mediation analyses also suggested that differentiation of self may better explain the relationship between anxiety and countertransference feelings, and partially explain the relationship between emotional self awareness and countertransference feelings. Analyses examining moderation found that counselors lower in differentiation of self reported significantly more overinvolved countertransference behaviors, overinvolved feelings and underinvolved feelings compared to those higher in differentiation of self regardless of client analog condition.
Table of Contents
Review of literature -- Method -- Results -- Discussion -- Appendix A. Kiesler's Interpersonal Circle -- Appendix B. Interpersonal circles for analog clients -- Appendix C. Demographic questionnaire -- Appendix D. Differentiation of self inventory-revised short form -- Appendix E. Analog tape scripts -- Appendix F. Countertransference anchor descriptions -- Appendix G. Countertransference feelings questionnaire -- Appendix H. State-trait anxiety inventory -- Appendix I. Clarity of feelings questionnaire -- Appendix J. Pilot study questionnaire -- Appendix K. Solicitation/recruitment messages -- Appendix L. Participant information page -- Appendix M. IRB approval letters