Julia Taddonio, Psy.D., is a 2015 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Theodore Ellenhorn, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Lorraine Mangione, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Vincent Pignatiello, Psy.D., Committee Member


countertransference, working alliance, trainees, supervision

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Countertransference is a construct that originated in psychoanalysis that has been acknowledged in most forms of therapy. The management of countertransference is important for preventing it from adversely affecting treatment, especially for clinicians in training. While all therapists experience countertransference, training therapists may be more vulnerable to it impeding the development of a strong working alliance with clients. Outcome research has found a moderate relationship between the working alliance and treatment outcome. Only a small amount of writing has focused on the relationship between content and process of supervision and the trainee’s ability to form strong working alliances with clients. This study explored the magnitude of the relationship between the topics most explored in supervision and the trainee’s perception of her ability to form the working alliance. Participants were recruited through contacting directors of training of graduate schools around the country and were asked to complete a web-based survey. Quantitative methods were employed to test the following hypotheses: (a) Time spent processing thoughts and feelings, personal issues, and developing self-awareness in supervision is associated with a strong working alliance as reported by the trainee; (b) Trainees who identify with relational theoretical approaches to psychotherapy, such as psychodynamic or humanistic, will perceive themselves as more capable of forming working alliances and may spend more time in supervision processing their personal reactions and responses to their clients. Since the primary hypotheses were not confirmed in the present study, exploratory analyses were also performed. Also included is a discussion of the findings and the implications for clinical training and education.


Julia Taddonio

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0002-4735-9374