About the Alliance

Erin Pierson, LMHC

Erin Pierson, LMHC is a licensed mental health counselor in private practice in the South Lake Union.  She has over 10 years of experience working in a variety of settings and with different populations, including community mental health, employee assistance programs, a hospital emergency department, and private practice. Her theoretical lens is influenced by psychodynamic psychotherapy, relational, and interpersonal psychoanalysis. She has found psychoanalytic theory a useful sensibility with patients of all backgrounds, as what happens on the unconscious level greatly impacts how one situates one’s self in the world.

Available In-Service Topics

Therapist Anxiety Working with Suicidal Patients

Many patients will experience suicidal thoughts and feelings throughout treatment. This discussion considers therapists’ reactions treating suicidal patients and aims to reduce the therapist’s shame by normalizing and understanding anxious feelings. Developing a better understanding of therapists’ feelings towards suicidal patients can reduce the fear around treating suicidality. Issues of transference and countertransference will be explored, as well as unconscious process between therapist and patient.  

Considering Systemic Issues in Transference and Countertransference

Psychotherapy and psychoanalysis have often put too much emphasis on transference and countertransference relating only to the family system, particularly the idea of a family system as white, middle class, and heteronormative. While family systems are an important consideration in working with patients, it is also necessary to consider transference and countertransference as an enactment of our broader collective history that includes sociopolitical, economical, and cultural factors. This discussion will challenge therapists to think outside the nuclear family and consider other factors that inform the therapist’s and patient’s responses to treatment.