Date of Award

Spring April 2013

Access Restriction

Campus Access only Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts


This research examined the emergence of transference and countertransference within an interracial client-therapist relationship. The literature reviewed in this paper encompasses the different manifestations of transference and countertransference within the therapeutic space, cultural transference and countertransference, the way in which culture presents itself within the therapeutic environment, and the emergence of culture within the art psychotherapy relationship (in the case of this research, the focus was on areas of race and ethnicity as it pertains to culture). A case study approach was utilized with an 8-year-old Hispanic female and her family who received services from an African American art therapist. The findings indicate that [cultural] transference and countertransference are inevitable and should be closely monitored. The findings also suggest that art can serve as an effective tool for highlighting cultural factors. The research reinforced that cultural themes will naturally manifest as treatment progresses, and the dismissal of these cultural matters can result in negative consequences for the client, therapist, and the therapeutic relationship. This research also highlights the lack of attention given to culture within therapy, the need for more therapists to become trained in areas of culture to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse clientele, and for a greater sensitivity and attunement to cultural issues.