Discussion Question: Transference and Countertransference
At an inpatient residential treatment facility, a depressed client unrelentingly begs the attending consultant for a weekend discharge pass. While begging for the pass, the client states, “You remind me so much of my brother. He was always such an easygoing, kind person. Whatever you decide is fine. I trust my brother so much to make wise decisions. You are so much like him. So I trust you will make the right decision.” The consultant finally agrees and allows the patient to be discharged. The consultant is aware that the client has attempted suicide two times in the past. The consultant does not take the time to check with the licensed on-site clinician in charge before signing the weekend discharge slip. Answer the following questions:
- What issues of transference are displayed by the client? Explain in your own words.
- Did the consultant act ethically by allowing the client to be discharged? Discuss.
- Is it possible that countertransference played a part in how the consultant acted? If so, how?
- What are the other pitfalls facing consultants in the mental health profession?
- What ethical guidelines would you follow if you were a consultant in the mental health profession?