LISTENING TO THE LISTENER
An Existential-Humanistic Approach to
Psychotherapy with Psychotherapists
MYRTLE HEERY & JAMES F. T. BUGENTAL
In this chapter we will address the issue of psychotherapists who, after practicing psychotherapy for some time, turn to psychotherapy not as a requirement but out of a genuine life need. We will explore some of the myths about being a psychotherapist, four human givens that propel the need for psychotherapy, and two clinical cases in which the clients themselves were therapists, demonstrating the process of existential-humanistic psychotherapy.
While training for a career as a psychotherapist, one often undergoes psychotherapy oneself. Sometimes this therapy may not be fulfilling; its outcome is measured in terms of hours toward a requirement instead of personal growth.
Nevertheless, good psychotherapy is a process that may elicit growth for the student. The trainee is likely to find that his or her issues as a client parallel to some degree those of the clients he or she will later see in his or her own practice. Equally he or she will discover the many individual variations on similar issues. The journey of students in psychotherapy is well known to many psychotherapists, but the journey of licensed clinicians in