Ethics and Countertransference

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Lisa Ferentz, LCSW-C, DAPA, takes a close look at countertransference, which is often at the root of ethical transgressions. Frank Summers, PhD, explains how ethical conduct motivated by respect for others is part of achieving selfhood, which is why it is good to be good.

This CE course is designated as intermediate.

Target audience: Target audience: Psychologists, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, addiction counselors, social workers, nurses.

This course meets the requirement for the risk management discount for the American Professional Agency.

You can access the audio to these interviews via your computer's MP3 player and/or read the text of the interviews.


  • Print Version / Test Preview
  • Part 1: Interview with Lisa Ferentz, LCSW-C, DAPA
  • Part 2: Interview with Frank Summers, PhD
  • Part 3: Ethics Codes
  • Part 4: Bibliography
  • Part 5: Audio Version of Interview
  • CE Test
  • Evaluation

Author Bio

Subject Matter Experts:

Lisa Ferentz, LCSW-C, DAPA, is a Diplomate of the American Psychotherapy Association. She has been in private practice for 30 years, specializing in adolescent and adult survivors of trauma, abuse, and neglect. She uses many creative modalities in her work to address issues of affect regulation, co-dependency, addictions, eating disorders and self-destructive behaviors, depression, anxiety, countertransference, ethics, professional burn-out, and self-care.

As founder and president of The Institute for Advanced Psychotherapy Training and Education, Inc., Ms. Ferentz is the guiding force behind a team of seasoned clinicians and educators whose mission it is to provide mental health professionals with continuing education encompassing a wide variety of clinical issues, client populations, and practice settings. In 2009 she was voted the ???Social Worker of Year?? by the Maryland Society for Clinical Social Work.

Along with managing The Institute and running a very active clinical practice, Ms. Ferentz is a locally and nationally known author, speaker, and consultant. She has written numerous articles for journals and publications including New York University's Child Study Center and the Psychotherapy Networker Journal. Most notably, Ms. Ferentz participated in a documentary entitled The Multiple Personality Puzzle, which was produced for the Learning Channel, and she also took part in a series of educational videos focusing on eating disorders, available through Cavalcade Videos.

Ms. Ferentz??s newest book, Letting Go of Self-Destructive Behaviors: A Workbook of Hope and Healing, was released in September 2014. Her first book, Treating Self-Destructive Behaviors in Traumatized Clients: A Clinician??s Guide, is in its third printing.

Frank Summers, PhD, is Professor of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University and holds faculty positions both at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis and the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis. He is president of the Division of Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Summers has published extensively and lectured nationwide on object relations theories and their application to the process of psychoanalytic therapy. The emphasis of his contributions has been on the translation of insight into concrete emotional and behavioral changes by bringing to fruition the latent potential of the patient. His books and papers in professional journals elucidate his theory that psychoanalytic therapy is a process of self-creation in which the therapist plays a dual role of understanding current patterns and facilitating the creation of new ways of being and relating.

His previous book, Object Relations Theories and Psychopathology: A Comprehensive Text, has been hailed as the best available survey of contemporary psychoanalytic theory and technique. In his current book, The Psychoanalytic Vision: The Experiencing Subject, Transcendence, and the Therapeutic Process, Dr. Summers argues that analytic therapy is a worldview that stands in clear opposition to the dominant cultural value system of objectification, quantification, and materialism. The Psychoanalytic Vision situates psychoanalysis as the voice of the rebel.

Dr. Summers maintains a private practice in psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy in Chicago.


Barbara Alexander, LCSW, BCD, is a graduate of the Smith College School for Social Work and the Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Program of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. After working for 13 years in child psychiatric settings and 30 years in private practice, she is now founder and president of On Good Authority, and an expert interviewer.

CE Approvals

At Health is an APA-Approved Sponsor At Health, LLC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. At Health, LLC maintains responsibility for the program and its content.

At Health is an NBCC-Approved SponsorAt Health, LLC has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6949. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. At Health, LLC is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

At Health, LLC is an approved provider of continuing education through the co-sponsorship of At Health, LLC, and Amedco, LLC.  Amedco, #1346, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Amedco maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 6/24/2016 to 6/24/2019.

At Health is an Approved Sponsor of the California Board of NursingAt Health, LLC is a provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (CA BRN), Provider # CEP 17059. California Licensed Vocational Nurses and California Psychiatric Technicians can take online courses by California Board of Registered Nursing (CA BRN) approved providers, such as At Health, LLC, to fulfill their CE requirements.

At Health is an Approved Sponsor of the Texas State Board of ExaminersAt Health, LLC is an approved provider of the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners, provider #7566.

At Health, LLC is an approved provider of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists, provider #908.

At Health, LLC is an approved provider of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors, provider # 3303.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for social work in Arkansas.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for social workers, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, master's level psychologists, licensed clinical psychotherapists, and alcohol and other drug abuse counselors in Kansas.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for mental health practice and for social work in Nebraska.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for psychologists, pastoral psychotherapists, clinical social workers, clinical mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, and alcohol and drug abuse counselors in New Hampshire.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for social workers, professional counselors, marital and family therapists, and clinical pastoral therapists in Tennessee. is approved as a continuing education provider by the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) Provider #148460.

The above CE sponsorships are honored by many additional state boards of social work, marriage and family therapy, and licensed professional counseling. Some restrictions may apply. Check with your state board or certifying organization to find out if online courses or home study are accepted as part of your continuing education requirement for license renewal or re-certification, or call At Health, LLC at 888-284-3258 for information regarding CE approvals.

Page last modified or reviewed by on Sep 13, 2018.

Learning Objectives

Upon completing this program, participants should be able to:

  • Explain how a countertransference response becomes a betrayal of the therapeutic bond
  • Describe the differences between friendship and therapy
  • Apply Ferentz's two question litmus test to determine whether a course of action is a potential boundary violation
  • Illustrate when to use the 5-second rule in the therapeutic relationship

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