PERSONAL THERAPY IN
Tradition and Current Practice
ANTON-RUPERT LAIREITER & ULRIKE WILLUTZKI
Personal therapy or some other kind of experience focusing on the person of the therapist does not have a very long or deep tradition in cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT). However, the integration of personrelated experience into the training of cognitive-behavior (CB) therapists has been intensively discussed during the last 15 to 20 years, especially in some European countries. Training is not the only context where personal therapy is of importance in CBT. Many cognitive-behavior therapists (about 50% to 60%) engage in personal therapy at least once during their professional lives (Norcross & Guy, chapter 13; Norcross & Connor, chapter 15; Orlinsky, Rønnestad, Willutzki, Wiseman, & Botermans, chapter 14). Because most of them do not engage in cognitive-behavioral therapies but prefer psychodynamic or humanistic orientations (Laireiter, 2000a), their therapeutic style as well as their therapeutic competence may be intensely influenced by these experiences. Until now it is not yet fully acknowledged whether this kind of eclecticism is positive or problematic for doing therapy in a cognitive-behavioral frame of reference. This brief chapter gives an overview of the personal therapy of CB therapists.
Historically, the requirement for trainees to undergo psychotherapy has a long tradition and goes back to Freud and other leading figures of early psychoanalysis. Behavior therapists did not view personal therapy as necessary, because therapy was not seen as a process of working through the