Transference And Countertransference Working With Children

Specific skills and knowledge are essential for a social worker working with children. Understanding transference and countertransference is crucial to a healthy therapeutic relationship. Both transference and countertransference can be evident in any client–therapist relationship, but are especially important in working with children because of a common instinct among adults to protect and nurture the young. The projection or relocation of one’s feelings about one person onto another, otherwise known as transference, is a common response by children (Gil, 1991). Countertransference, a practitioner’s own emotional response to a child, is also common.

For this Discussion, review the Malawista (2004) article.


  • An explanation why transference and countertransference are so common when working with children.
  • Identify some strategies you might use to address both transference and countertransference in your work with children.
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