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Baker, S.W. Izzo, P. Trenton, A. (2015). Psychodynamic Considerations in Psychotherapy Using Interpreters: Perspectives from Psychiatry Residents. Psychodyn. Psych., 43(1):117-128.

(2015). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 43(1):117-128

Psychodynamic Considerations in Psychotherapy Using Interpreters: Perspectives from Psychiatry Residents

Samuel W. Baker, M.D., Philip Izzo, M.D. and Adam Trenton, D.O.

Over the last two decades, a number of publications (Ehntholt & Yule, 2006; Miller, Martell, Pazdirak, Caruth, & Lopez, 2005; Westermeyer, 1990) have explored the role of interpreters in diagnostic and/or psychotherapeutic interviews with refugee patients who are not proficient in the English language. Among the technical issues addressed by this literature are the indications for the use of interpreters, the impact upon the interview process, boundary consideration, and the potential role confusion and overlap between the psychiatrist and the interpreter. While yielding significant and useful information, none of these articles pertain specifically to therapists who are in the beginning phase of their training.

In this article, we present three clinical vignettes in which the involvement of an interpreter in a resident-run clinic mobilized clinical concerns and resulted in countertransference difficulties among the therapists. Although we have chosen only three cases, it should be noted that the majority of residents in this clinic conduct psychotherapy with the use of interpreters. We illustrate and discuss some of the issues that can arise in this complicated clinical situation and explore how therapists-in-training may be particularly vulnerable to these challenges.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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