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Hanna, E.A. (1993). The Implications of Shifting Perspectives in Countertransference on the Therapeutic Action of Clinical Social Work Part I: The Classical and Early-Totalist Position. Psychoanal. Soc. Work, 1(3):25-52.

(1993). Psychoanalytic Social Work, 1(3):25-52

The Implications of Shifting Perspectives in Countertransference on the Therapeutic Action of Clinical Social Work Part I: The Classical and Early-Totalist Position

Edward A. Hanna

Traditional social work clinical theory has held that the treatment relationship is crucial to the therapeutic action of clinical social work. Yet currently there are pressures within the university that have led to a significant trend within social work education to devalue the role of relationship in the treatment process. Specific technical interventions are emphasized because they lend themselves better to currently favored research methods for measuring outcome. This is a two-part series of papers which reaffirms and elaborates on the centrality of the relationship for practice through an exploration of changing perspectives of psychoanalytic countertransference theory. Part I focuses on the implications of the classical point of view on countertransference for social work practice. The classical view was the first and, some argue, the most decisive contribution to countertransference theory. Under the influence of the English and British schools of object relations theory and the American culturalists, an expanded view of countertransference developed-the totalist position. Paper I also explores the implication of the totalist position for social work practice and illustrates through a case example. The second paper focuses on the recent totalist and intersubjective perspectives on countertransference for social work practice and also provides a case study for illustration.

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