Counter-transference in the EMDR psychotherapy


Since Ferenczi we know that the understanding and the use of counter-transference can be central in the therapy of persons who are suffering with disorders related to childhood trauma, neglect, or early attachment issues. Counter-transference relates to the feelings, thoughts, images, fantasies, actions, theoretical concepts, expectations and anticipations of the therapist in the course of a therapy. It is influenced by the therapist’s own story, issues and needs, also in reaction to the patient’s issues and story, and to the therapeutic relationship. Therefore any (EMDR) therapy can only be unique and subjective per definition. Introjections by the therapist of emotions, sensations, thoughts or images from which the patient is disconnected can happen more often with complex traumatized and dissociative patients, which can make the work difficult for the EMDR therapist, especially if this occurs during the reprocessing (phase 4). Furthermore, life events of patients can reactivate unresolved traumas and attachment issues of the therapist. Vicarious traumatization is another aspect of counter-transference, which can occur when working with trauma patients and can have an impact on the wellbeing and abilities of the EMDR therapist, and therefore on his/her work. This workshop will address these counter-transference issues, how they may block the Adaptive Information Processing, and how therapists may unblock the process and release the AIP with counter-transference based interventions. With a brief theoretical presentation and clinical vignettes, the participants will be offered ways to assess, address and release counter-transference issues during the EMDR therapy, also with counter-transference based interweaves. This workshop is open to all EMDR therapists, independently of their other theoretical orientation.






Olivier Piedfort-Marin

Original Work Citation

Piedfort-Marin, O. (2017, June). Counter-transference in the EMDR psychotherapy. Presentation (Eva Münker Kramer, Chair) at the 18th EMDR Europe Association Conference, Barcelona, Spain



“Counter-transference in the EMDR psychotherapy,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed April 18, 2021,

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