Current Women`s Health Reviews

John Yeh  
Harvard Medical School 
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA


Counter-Transference and Neutrality: A Challenge for Abortion Counsellor

Author(s): Lorenzo Soldati, Francesco Bianchi-Demicheli, John Christian Kohla, Antonio Andreoli, Stephanie Ortigue, Johannes Bitzer.


Introduction: In abortion counselling, the counsellor is generally supposed to be supportive, non-judgmental and neutral. However, counsellors can be confronted with strong internal emotions i.e., counter-transference reactions. Counter-transference may paralyse a counsellor’s investigation and push the counsellor to lose their position of neutrality.

Objective: The objective of this article is to show counsellors the importance of integrating counter-transference in abortion counselling to increase the efficacy of their investigation and to maintain a neutral position.

Method: A systematic search of the literature was performed. The studies retained for review had to discuss certain aspects of abortion counselling interview techniques, specifically maintaining neutrality and dealing with countertransference.

Results: Eight studies matched our criteria. All studies stressed the danger of losing neutrality for the counsellor. A few authors suggested paying attention to this non-conscious process to better help patients.

Conclusions: We propose applying the psychoanalytical theory on neutrality and counter-transference to the abortion counselling setting. A cognitive awareness of counter-transference feelings may help the counsellor to understand the non-conscious transference-counter-transference dynamic and to use the moment when neutrality is lost to improve the patients comprehension of ambivalence.

Keywords: Abortion counselling, ambivalence, neutrality, counter-transference, Abortion, psychoanalytical, termination of pregnancy, legalisation of abortion, embryo, counselling techniques, counsellor, patient-counsellor dyad, gynaecologist, psychologist, psychiatrist, transfero-countertrasference dynamic, counsellor-patient interaction, psychotherapeutical encounter, doctor-patient relationship, psychoanalyst, therapist's attitude, sadistic patient, Pines' observations, contraceptive pill, psychotherapy, non-conscious processes, Psychoanalytical literature, participating Ego, geneticists, psychological vulnerability, legal abortion, Unplanned pregnancies

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Article Details

Year: 2010
Page: [341 - 345]
Pages: 5
DOI: 10.2174/157340410793362087
Price: $58