This article aims at reviewing important aspects of the relationship between countertransference and care of patients who were victims of psychic trauma. The treatment of traumatized patients is a potential source of psychic suffering to their therapists as well, due to the emotional burden involved and to the chances of evoking strong countertransferential reactions. A better understanding of this process could be a valuable contribution to treatment outcome, besides promoting mental health protection and prevention for therapists. Firstly, psychic trauma will be approached from its concept and definitions, including considerations on posttraumatic stress disorder and extending to countertransference reactions and their meaning in the context of traumatic situations. The impact of treating trauma victims will also be discussed through the relevance of vicarious traumatization, a phenomenon whose comprehension has been pointed out as crucial to provide better care to psychological trauma victims.
Trauma; countertransference; psychoanalysis; psychotherapy