On Becoming a Psychotherapist

On Becoming a Psychotherapist

On Becoming a Psychotherapist

On Becoming a Psychotherapist

Synopsis

Why do people want to become a psychotherapist? How do they translate this desire into reality? On Becoming a Psychotherapistexplores these and related questions. Ten leading therapists write about their profession and their careers, examining how and why they became pyschotherapists. The contributors, representing a wide cross-section of their profession, come from both Britian and America, from different theoretical backgrounds, and are at different stages in their careers. They write in a personal and revealing way about their childhoods, families, colleagues, and training. This absorbing and fascinating book offers a fresh perspective on psychotherapy and the people attracted to it.

Excerpt

Recently in the psychotherapy literature there has been renewed interest in the personal lives of psychotherapists and in the personal experiences that have led them to pursue their chosen profession and that characterize their continuing work in that profession (Goldberg 1986; Guy 1987; Kottler 1986). This emphasis perhaps reflects a similar trend in the psychotherapy research literature which has found little differential effectiveness in different approaches to psychotherapy (the 'technical'). As a result, researchers are turning again to more 'personal' therapist variables such as the capacity to form and maintain a therapeutic alliance with clients, in their search for explanations of differential therapeutic outcome (Stiles, Shapiro and Elliott 1986).

In the present book we continue this emphasis on the 'personal' rather than the 'technical' and seek to explicate the process of becoming a psychotherapist. We considered that the best way of approaching our task was to invite a number of therapists to write on this theme from their own experience. The sample of contributing therapists is quite broad. They include both men and women from different therapeutic orientations who are at different stages of their respective careers. Furthermore, they come from both sides of the Atlantic and while some have achieved great eminence in the profession of psychotherapy, others are less well known.

The book is divided into three parts. In Part I, Gilbert, Hughes and Dryden set the scene by laying the foundations of the view that the person of the therapist is a 'crucial variable' in the psychotherapeutic process. In Part II each therapist contributes an autobiographical essay on the theme 'On becoming a psychotherapist'. The content and style of each contribution is essentially personal and individual, but in order to give shape to this section of the book and to focus on some important issues, contributors were asked to use a common chapter structure and to address themselves to specific questions (these are reproduced in the Appendix). Part III contains two commentaries-one by ourselves in which we consider the themes that emerge from the autobiographical essays, and one by Norcross and Guy who consider the

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