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An Anatomy of Countertransference: Staff Reactions to Difficult Psychiatric Hospital Patients
Donald B. Colson; Jon G. Allen; Lolafaye Coyne; Nadine Dexter; Nancy Jehl; Catherine A. Mayer; Herbert Spohn
Psychiatric Services 1986; doi:
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The authors thank Betty Rosen, the project research assistant; the hospital staff; and, for thoughtful reviews of the paper, Dr. Stuart Averill, Dr. Daniel Pickar, and Jane L. Colson.

The Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas, C. F. Menninger Memorial Hospital

The Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas,The C. F. Menninger Memorial Hospital

The Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas, Nursing Service

The Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas, The Adult Outpatient Department

The Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas, The Menninger Foundation

1986 American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Countertransference among hospital staff was investigated as part of ongoing research on difficult-to-treat psychiatric hospital patients. Staff's ratings of their emotional reactions to 127 patients on long-term units were analyzed by factor analysis, and the resulting factors were correlated by discipline with patient problem behaviors. Among the conclusions were that different forms of psychopathology elicit characteristic patterns of emotional reaction from staff; that some dimensions of psychopathology, particularly suicidal-depressed behavior and violence-agitation, elicit different emotional reactions among different disciplines, thus laying the groundwork for division among staff; and that the more difficult the process of hospital treatment, the more likely staffwill experience a variety of emotions.

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