Some reflections of countertransference in the treatment of criminals

Psychiatry. 1998 Summer;61(2):172-7; discussion 178-80. doi: 10.1080/00332747.1998.11024828.


Most of the literature on countertransference reactions with criminals has emphasized negative emotions such as hatred, rage, and fear. This article discusses reactions that have been relatively neglected, such as fascination and envy. Fantasies of leading a life of excitement are frequently evoked. Recognizing these fantasies and emotions and accepting them as attractive can increase our understanding of the offender and his life. The lure of criminality, despite its severe consequences, become more understandable. Accepting these emotions can bring a challenge to life, and a reevaluation of one's morals and values. A balance between the reality of "normal" life and fantasy is ultimately accepted.

MeSH terms

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / therapy*
  • Countertransference*
  • Crime / psychology*
  • Emotions
  • Fantasy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Psychotherapy*
  • Sex Offenses / psychology