Ripley's game: Projective identification, emotional engagement, and the counselling psychologist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

375 Downloads (Pure)


Counselling psychology's dual emphasis on the use of the self as both vehicle of therapeutic change and legitimate focus of inquiry and research is one of the features by which the profession may be distinguished from related fields such as clinical psychology or psychotherapy. This paper discusses the relevance of the psychoanalytic concept of projective identification in understanding the extent, nature and subtlety of the ways in which the therapist's ‘self’ and emotions may be deployed within the therapeutic relationship. Illustrated with reference to the film ‘Ripley's Game’ and a clinical case vignette, Searles's (1978) advocacy of ‘a richness of emotional participation’ within clinical work is discussed in relation to the pluralist philosophy of counselling psychology; implications for the training and personal development of counselling psychologists are also briefly explored.

© 2005, The British Psychological Society. This is an author produced version of a paper uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link below. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-464
JournalPsychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Cite this