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J Clin Psychol. 1991 Mar;47(2):284-90.

Effects of therapist-trainees' anxiety and empathy on countertransference behavior.

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Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park 20742.


This study examined the relationship between therapist-trainees' state anxiety and countertransference behavior and the possible moderating role played by empathy. Primary hypotheses were: (a) Trainee state anxiety is related positively to countertransference behavior; and (b) the adverse effects of anxiety would influence only less empathic trainees. Thirty-five trainees (11 males, 24 females) conducted counseling sessions with each of two clients, who then rated their counselor's empathy. Countertransference behavior subsequently was assessed through trainees' responses to two audiotaped clients; state anxiety was self-reported after each audiotape "session." State anxiety was found to relate to countertransference as predicted, but only for male trainees. The hypothesized moderating effect of empathy was unsupported. The role of gender as related to anxiety and countertransference is discussed.

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