Magazine article Psychotherapy Networker

Turning Points: Remember the Moment That Transformed Your Practice?

Magazine article Psychotherapy Networker

Turning Points: Remember the Moment That Transformed Your Practice?

Article excerpt

It is hard, impossible maybe, to think about psychotherapy without also reflecting on the nature of change. Yet, in the standard version of the therapeutic encounter, the whole phenomenon of change belongs almost entirely to the client. They make the breakthroughs, we support them in their daring. Perhaps because we feel that our clients need us to be rocks, we don't dwell much on how we, as therapists, also keep reinventing ourselves in ways that profoundly affect the work we do.

Sometimes, our mutations occur right there in our offices, the fruits of encounters with clients; other shifts may arise from unsettling personal challenges; still others may emerge from the slow seasoning of self that accompanies maturity. In the course of a clinical career, most practitioners weather a number of turning points. Sometimes, though, a particular moment stands out, a pivotal event or episode in our lives that acts as a kind of domino, upending our most cherished beliefs about therapy and forcing us to reconsider just what we are doing, and why.

In the essays that follow, five clinicians meditate on the turning point in their own lives that most profoundly and enduringly changed their understanding of the purposes of therapy and of their roles as therapists. In each piece, the author identifies a moment that pulled into sudden, sharp focus what was important and what was not, and describes how that altered awareness began to bubble up, unbidden, into his or her work. …

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