HE PERSONAL THERAPY
EXPERIENCES OF A RATIONAL
In Britain today, most professional bodies require psychotherapists to have had personal therapy before being registered or accredited. While professional bodies representing different therapeutic approaches specify the length and frequency of such personal therapy, this is not the case with more general professional bodies. Both the British Association for Counselling and the Division of Counselling Psychology of the British Psychological Society now specify that accredited (in the first case) and chartered (in the second case) practitioners have to have a minimum of 40 hours of personal therapy. What is so magical about 40 hours? Neither body has given a convincing argument for this figure and certainly not one that stems from the research literature.
When I began my training as a counsellor in Britain (in 1974), there were few general accrediting professional bodies and there was very little guidance (outside the analytic tradition) concerning whether to seek personal therapy, let alone what type one should seek and how long and how frequently one should seek it. What follows, then, is an account of my personal therapy experiences from my contemporary position strongly in the rational emotive-behaviour therapy (REBT) tradition.
In recounting my history of personal therapy I will cover experiences of individual and group therapy that I had before my training as a counselor and after I began training. I will also discuss the personal development groups that I attended, which were a mandatory part of three periods of my professional training. Finally, I will discuss instances of self-help because they illuminate why I derived so little help from consulting my