The Psychotherapist's Own Psychotherapy: Patient and Clinician Perspectives

By Jesse D. Geller; John C. Norcross et al. | Go to book overview

25
RESEARCH ON CONDUCTING
PSYCHOTHERAPY WITH
MENTAL HEALTH
PROFESSIONALS

JESSE D. GELLER, JOHN C. NORCROSS, & DAVID E. ORLINSKY

This chapter has two primary purposes. The first is to present a practice-friendly research review on such basic questions as: How frequently do psychotherapists treat other therapists? What are the characteristics of these therapist-patients? Who are the therapists' therapists? What treatment modalities are typically offered? What distinguishes the treatment of mental health professionals compared to lay persons? The second purpose is to contribute to the development of an organized body of knowledge that can effectively guide the work of therapists who are therapists of fellow mental health professionals.

Only a handful of therapists have written about their experiences conducting psychotherapy with fellow therapists. They have come largely from psychodynamic and psychoanalytic backgrounds (e.g., Berman, 1995; Bridges, 1993, 1995; Burton, 1973; Fleischer & Wissler, 1985; Freudenberger, 1986; Gabbard, 1995; Glickauf-Hughes & Melman, 1995; for an exception, see Kaslow, 1984). Their thoughtful writings converge with respect to the following generalizations. First, they all share the view that treating colleagues is characteristically difficult, even for seasoned clinicians. Second, every author has acknowledged that there are indeed idiosyncratic aspects and special considerations in treating psychotherapists. Third, the clinical dilemmas specific to the psychotherapy of psychotherapists tend to derive from several interrelated sources—unusual pressures to maintain therapeutic boundaries, confrontations with intense countertransferential

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