Although most mental health and behavioral health professionals have encountered adoption triad members—birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted persons—in their clinical practice, the vast majority have had no formal or informal training on adoption issues. The Handbook of Adoption is the first text designed for mental health practitioners to specifically address the many dimensions of adoption-related issues which can and do affect adoption triad members, specifically in the United States.

Chapter 31: “I Don't Know You”: Transferenceand Countertransference Paradigms with Adoptees

“I Don't Know You”: Transferenceand Countertransference Paradigms with Adoptees

“I don't know you”: Transference andcountertransference paradigms with adoptees

Patients who are adopted are often highly resistant to exploring their adoptivestatus as well as the experience of adoption itself in psychotherapy. The moresof our culture typically discourage the openness required to help members ofadoptive families work through their difficulties (Nickman, 1996a). Clinicianswho work with such patients are well aware of this phenomenon, and theliterature on psychotherapy with adoptees documents the difficulty in exploringpatients' conflicts about adoption (Kernberg, 1985–1986; Sherick,1983; Soll, 2000). The subject of adoption is not uncommonly brought up by thepatient at the beginning of treatment, prematurely closed by patient and parent,and never discussed again (Kernberg, 1985–1986). Though therapists areaware that adoption exerts profound effects on ...

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