Rescue fantasies in the personal and professional relational narratives of psychotherapists

Orly Vaknin, Hadas Wiseman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explores rescue fantasies in the experiences of therapists in their relationship with their clients and in their personal relationships. Twenty female therapists participated in a reading procedure aimed to prompt themes of rescue followed by a relationships anecdotes paradigm (RAP) interview in which they recounted relational narratives with their parents, their own children and their clients. Adapting the Core Conflictual Relationships Themes (CCRT) method, our analysis of rescue wishes in the relational narratives leads to the identification of two major types of therapists' propensities towards rescue awareness: rescuer and dialectic. These types are characterised by different dynamics of ongoing interpersonal conflicts involved in the strength and nature of rescue fantasies. The findings reveal the dominance of rescue themes in therapists’ interpersonal and professional experiences. Our illustration of the rescue types as revealed by the narratives highlights the significance of therapists' awareness of their own rescue dynamics and its implications for training and supervision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-447
Number of pages6
JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy


  • CCRT
  • countertransference
  • psychotherapists
  • relational narratives
  • rescue fantasies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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