Monthly Archives: July 2010

Therapy for therapists


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Therapy for therapists is an intriguing proposition, and one that I hadn’t even begun to consider until undertook the quest to becoming a therapist myself.  Although many of my classmates appeared to endorse the “encouraged but not required” position, I think therapy for therapists should be required for a license.  I believe that an imperative part of being an effective clinician is being able to experience being on the “other side of the table.”  I know this was a valuable experience for me in my teacher training.  Not only were we required to attend classes and perform all the other scholarly duties of a teacher in training, but we were required to conduct peer reviews.  In that respect, I would take the response one step further to include peer review and some experience with supervision to be included as part of the pre-requisite for licensure.    I think we should be required to familiarize ourselves with every perspective in the process, and be able to function effectively in all those areas.

I have participated in psychotherapy sessions as a client, and I think everyone should make that attempt at some point in their lives.  I think it’s inevitable that we all encounter stressors that would justify getting some help.  I can’t imagine a possible scenario where they would allow a teacher to teach without first teaching them how to be a good student, and I believe that same logic can be applied to therapy.

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The role of our personal values in a counseling relationship


The role of our personal values in a counseling relationship is a challenging ethical concept.  Even the most well intentioned and cautious clinician will be influenced, even inadvertently, by his or her values.  Imposing our own values on a client is a treacherous proposition, and it risks compromising our objectivity.  Some relativists would argue that such objectivity is an illusion, and that it is wholly unobtainable.

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Initially, I am not entirely sure I saw a conflict with exposing my values (without imposing them on the client).  After additional reflection, I am not sure that I am entirely comfortable exposing my values during the course of the interview process.  Perception is reality, and I would have no control over the client’s interpretation of the values that were exposed.  Despite my best efforts and good intentions, exposing my values would open a number of different variables that could be counterproductive to the interview process.

For example, if my values differed greatly from those of my client, I could risk alienating the client to the degree that they may come to the conclusion that our values differ too much to continue the counseling relationship.  The end result is a referral at best, or the client ceasing to pursue psychotherapy as a treatment method all together.

It’s your turn!  I am seeking out strategies I can employ that will help me contain the potential damage associated with exposing my underlying core values.  How much does your therapist share with you?

I would like to learn to avoid comparing and contrasting client values with my own.  This is an overwhelming task given that I have a natural inclination to establish rapport by doing just that.  Does your therapist compare and contrast their values with yours?

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