Countertransference in Dermatology
Sylvie G. Consoli, Silla M. Consoli
The doctor–patient relationship in dermatology, as in all the fields of medicine, is not a neutral relationship, removed from affects. These affects take root in the sociocultural, professional, family and personal history of both persons in the relationship. They underpin the psychic reality of the patients, along with a variety of representations, preconceived ideas, and fantasies concerning dermatology, the dermatologists or the psychiatrists. Practitioners call these “countertransference feelings”, with reference to the psychoanalytical concept of “countertransference”. These feelings come forward in a more or less conscious way and are active during the follow-up of any patient: in fact they can facilitate or hinder such a follow-up. Our purpose in focusing on this issue is to sensitize the dermatologists to recognizing these countertransference feelings in themselves (and the attitudes generated by them), in order to allow the patients and doctors to build a dynamic, creative, trustful and effective relationship.