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Transference, Countertransference and the Conversational Model.

Dr George Lianos

It has been said that transference and countertransference are two of the most central constructs in the practice of psychotherapy. Although different schools conceptualise these key ideas in slightly different ways that reflect their core underlying assumptions, they all share the notion that there is a repetitive dimension to each person’s behaviour that also emerges in therapy, that one may not be aware of. The meaning of these terms has expanded over the years to such an extent that in some circles transference and countertransference have come to mean all of the behaviours that emerge in therapy. Although there may be much truth in such a “universal” perspective, the value of these constructs may be compromised and dimished when their specificity is lost.

Recorded at the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS)
20 March 2013, New South Wales, Australia.
Visit STARTTS at :

George Lianos
George Lianos
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Dr George Lianos

Dr George Lianos is a Senior Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist who has practised psychotherapy for more than 30 years. He is a foundation member of ANZAP and has lectured and supervised throughout Australia and New Zealand. He has been a Clinical Lecturer and Supervisor in both the ANZAP training program, and the Sydney University Master of Medicine/Science (Psychotherapy) training program for more than 20 years.

His recent interests include the relationship between phenomenology and theory. In particular, his concerns are about how theory becomes independent of the phenomena it purports to explain, in a manner which makes the application of a theory more important than understanding the phenomena themselves. As a result, clinicians may feel pressure to demonstrate their theoretical prowess ahead of their caring and compassion.

He is currently engaged in private practice in the Sydney CBD and the Central Coast of NSW where he primarily focuses on individual and couple therapy.

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