Managing Countertransference in Correctional Treatment Settings: An Updated Perspective

Abby L. Mulay, Nicole M. Cain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The exploration of countertransference has been a topic typically reserved for the psychoanalytic and psychodynamic literature. However, regardless of theoretical orientation, correctional therapy clients often elicit strong reactions in their mental health practitioners, due to the level of psychopathology typically seen in this population, the crimes committed by these clients, and the presence of trauma within this population. We therefore argue that, whatever the theoretical orientation of the practitioner, therapists working in the correctional setting should take specific steps to manage their internal reactions to their clients. These steps should include consultation and supervision, familiarity with the ethical guidelines of working within the correctional environment, collaborating with other disciplines, and maintaining one’s own self-care. Finally, we argue that more empirical research is needed in this important topic area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Forensic Psychology Research and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Applied Psychology


  • attitudes
  • countertransference
  • criminal offenders
  • jail
  • prison
  • therapy


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