More than three-quarters of mental health professionals have undergone personal psychotherapy on at least one occasion. Proportionally speaking, psychotherapists are probably the largest consumers of long-term psychotherapy. Many therapists relate that their own experience in personal treatment has been the single greatest influence on their professional development. Furthermore, research indicates that identifications with their own therapists are a key determinant of the ways in which therapists-intraining understand and apply therapeutic principles.
Yet, until recently, little professional attention and scant empirical research has been devoted to the psychotherapist's personal therapy. Consequently, there is no organized body of knowledge that summarizes what is known about psychotherapy with mental health professionals and that effectively guides the work of “therapist's therapists.” Even less is published about conducting treatment with fellow therapists or the linkages between receiving and conducting psychotherapy. The taboo against open examination of the psychotherapist's own treatment is both revealing and troubling.
This book is designed to realize two primary aims. The first is to synthesize and explicate the accumulated knowledge on psychotherapy with psychotherapists. The second and interrelated aim is to provide clinically tested and empirically grounded assistance to psychotherapists treating fellow therapists, as well as to those clinicians who seek personal treatment themselves.
In this respect, the intended audience for the book is large and diverse. The book is intended as a treatment reference for clinicians, of all profes-