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Working with Somatic Countertransference, a Cross-Cultural perspective

Adrienne Margarian

The body of the therapist speaks in numerous ways in the psychotherapy session. Common experiences such as headaches, nausea, aches, pains, sleepiness, sexual arousal, dizziness and trembling can provide unique material relevant to the inner world of the client patient and the psychotherapy relationship evolving between therapist and client. These physical manifestations are known as somatic countertransference, a form of countertransference positioned as an embodied, physical manifestation in the therapist's body. Current interest in somatic countertransference spans from the psychoanalytic, post Jungian, dance movement and humanistic modalities of treatment to recent empirical studies originating from the trauma research field. Whilst the clinical literature emphasises the therapeutic relevance and richness of somatic countertransference for understanding unconscious communications emanating from the client, trauma research advocates greater self­ awareness and management of somatic countertransference to prevent therapist burnout. 

Psychotherapy Meets Africa
7th World Congress on Psychotherapy
25-29 August 2014, Durban, South Africa
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Adrienne Margarian
Adrienne Margarian
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Adrienne Margarian

Adrienne has worked as an Executive Coach since 2000, after completing training in 360 design, implementation and feedback with Personnel Decisions International (PDI). In 2001, Adrienne joined Corpsych as an Executive Coach, working with clients including Westpac, Deutsche Bank, Credit Swiss First Boston and AMP. In 2005, she joined Citipsych as a Consultant Psychologist and assisted News Limited and Suncorp with the management of critical incidents, redundancy and interpersonal conflict in the workplace.
From 2005 to 2008, Adrienne was an Executive Coach for Zurich Financial Services Australia’s Leadership Development Program, working with the company’s top 100 leaders. Her role included assimilating current industry information for the basis of role playing, providing feedback and performance development planning. More recently, Adrienne has been involved in the Parsons Brinckerhoff Leadership Development Program, which aims to help the company’s top 100 leaders create a culture to embrace significant change and challenges.

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