Countertransference manifestations to chronically vs. acutely ill patients: the effects of therapists’ death anxiety and health behaviors


Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology, Turkey

Approval Date: 2017

Thesis Language: English

Student: Yankı Süsen

Supervisor: ÖZLEM BOZO ÖZEN

Abstract:

The aim of the present dissertation is to determine the effects of both patients’ medical conditions and therapists’ death anxiety and health behaviors on affective, cognitive, and behavioral countertransference manifestations. A total of 100 par-ticipants having previously offered psychotherapy service and having conducted at least 10 therapy sessions up till the present study were included. After death anxiety and health behaviors levels of the participants were assessed via an online questionnaire set, participants watched and responded to three types of miniature videos displaying a warm-up patient, a patient with an acute illness, and a patient with a chronic illness. In this way, the affective arousal, cognitive distortion, and behavioral avoidance of the therapists as countertransference reactions to the pa-tients in miniature videos were assessed. A 2(death anxiety) x 2(health behaviors) x 2(medical condition of the videotaped patients) mixed factorial analysis of vari-ance (ANOVA) was used to examine the effects of death anxiety (high vs. low), health behaviors (high vs. low), and the medical conditions of the videotaped pa-tients (chronic vs. acute illness conditions) on each dependent variable (i.e., affec-tive arousal, cognitive distortion, and behavioral avoidance dimensions of counter-transference). Findings suggested that the main effects of both patients’ medical conditions and therapists’ death anxiety and health behaviors on countertransference manifesta-tions were not significant. As expected, the interaction effect of therapists’ death anxiety and patients’ medical condition on affective arousal was significant. More specifically, therapists with high death anxiety reported greater affective arousal at chronic illness video condition as compared to therapists with low death anxiety. Except this finding, other interaction terms (i.e., patients’ medical condition and therapists’ death anxiety; patients’ medical condition and therapists’ health behav-iors; patients’ medical conditions, therapists’ death anxiety and health behaviors) were not significant in predicting the dependent variables. The importance, contri-butions, and limitations of the present study, as well as recommendations for fu-ture research were discussed.