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Empathy as armour in battle: client-centered practice in difficult treatments

ARTICLEErnste, Dorothé, & Visser, Sandra - 40–4 (2002)

SUMMARY

This article looks at the importance of the classic conditions acceptance, empathy and authenticity in the treatment of seriously traumatised adolescents and young adults, who have trouble maintaining a working alliance and cause a lot of problems in their treatment: `difficult treatments'. Strong countertransference and vicarious traumatisation are seen in reference to the classic client-centered and interactional conditions. What do authenticity and transparancy mean, in contact with clients who cause so much negative feeling in their therapist? Described is how the classic, but even more the interactional conditions help to stay in contact with these clients, and to handle the strong countertransference, and even the vicarious traumatisation that arise. The authors have some recommendations for the work with these clients.

KEYWORDS

empathy, trauma