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Dreams of Deceased Children and Countertransference in the Group Psychotherapy of Bereaved Mothers: Clinical Illustration

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This article presents, in the form of a clinical illustration, a therapeutic group of bereaved mothers with special reference to their dreams about their deceased children. The article presents descriptions of the emotions of these mothers and countertransference feelings, a topic that, to our knowledge, has not been frequently studied. The group was small, analytically oriented, slow-open, comprised of women bereaved by the death of a child, and conducted by a female therapist. Over more than three years, the group included 20 members in total. This article describes a number of dreams recorded during a period when the group included seven members. Dreams helped the group members access their emotional pain, helplessness, yearning for a relationship with the deceased, guilt, and feelings of survival guilt. The transference-countertransference relationships were characterized by holding. Countertransference feelings of helplessness predominated. The therapist and the group as a whole contained various emotions, allowing the group members to return to the normal mourning processes from the parallel encouragement of group development and interpersonal relationships.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychiatry,Clinical Hospital Center, Zagreb, Croatia 2: Department of Psychological Medicine, School of Medicine,University Zagreb, Clinical Hospital Center, Zagreb, Croatia

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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