RE: SOCW6111 Discussion 2 Response to 1Students

Specific skills and knowledge are essential for a social worker working with children. Understanding transference and countertransference is crucial to a healthy therapeutic relationship. Both transference and countertransference can be evident in any client–therapist relationship, but are especially important in working with children because of a common instinct among adults to protect and nurture the young. The projection or relocation of one’s feelings about one person onto another, otherwise known as transference, is a common response by children (Gil, 1991). Countertransference, a practitioner’s own emotional response to a child, is also common.

For this Discussion, review the Malawista (2004) article.

Respond to colleagues who identified strategies different from your own by proposing alternative strategies. {Please include 2 APA references, be detailed in response and ask a question to the student about the post to further the conversation. The teacher has been taking off 6 pts per post.) Thanks

Response to Michael


Post your explanation why transference and countertransference are so common when working with children.

Transference and countertransference is common when working with children because of the therapist need or wanting to rescue the child from their “abusive” parents, and because the child perceiving the therapist to be their rescuer or a better parent (Malawista, 2004). Also, a therapist’s experience countertransference or enactments when they allow unconscious motivations to distort their conscious intent (Malawista, 2004). This means despite the therapist knowing that rescue behaviors are maladaptive when providing therapy, at times they (enactments) distort the conscious intent to provide therapy from a neutral position.

Then, identify some strategies you might use to address both transference and countertransference in your work with children.

When communicating with children the contextual and non-verbal information that surrounds their issues is just as if not more important to the verbal wording they use. The verbal dialogue between the child and therapist serves as a back drop to the proceeding or preceding unconscious non-verbal responses to the child’s words or the therapist words. By understanding this a therapist may be able to detach the rescuing behavior to the extent they remain neutral between the child and parent.


Malawista, K. L. (2004). Rescue fantasies in child therapy: Countertransference/ transference enactments. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 21(4), 373–386.