Intended for healthcare professionals


I feel for you

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 05 May 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2154
  1. Michelle Rydon-Grange, clinical psychologist
  1. Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB), North Wales Forensic Psychiatric Service, Llanfairfechan, UK
  1. michellerydongrange{at}

Ever noticed feeling irritated or bored in the presence of a patient? Perhaps you’ve felt particularly enamoured by a patient, or anxious and defensive in the presence of another. A clinician’s emotional response to their patient is termed countertransference. It can take any form—dislike, disgust, attraction—nothing is off limits. Modern conceptualisations suggest countertransference encompasses all the clinician’s feelings and attitudes—conscious and unconscious—towards the patient. …

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