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On Being a Therapist: An Introduction

There is no shortage of publications out there about different therapeutic approaches, techniques and all the things about how to do therapy, and why it is done in that way. However, when I look back over my years as a therapist, the material that made the greatest difference to me were when therapists reflected truthfully and irreverently on the therapist as a person.

I believe that who I am as a therapist cannot be separated from who I am as a person. My journey as a therapist as such is completely braided and intertwined with my personal journey as a person, man, husband, father, friend and so on. Although one side of being a therapist is therefore about learning ideas and techniques, and becoming skilled in using such ideas to formulate and intervene, the extent and way I can do that is directly connected to my personal journey. As such the greatest limiter and enabler of who I am as a therapist is therefore the extent to which I have walked the path of personal growth and development.

In these reflections I want to start exploring some of this, as well as the internal world of the therapist. Whenever I train new therapists I always feel this is the area that is most lacking in formal training, or sometimes seen as important but as something that happens elsewhere, perhaps in personal therapy. And yes, I find it disturbing that it is still not an absolute requirement to have been in personal therapy in order to become a therapist. I look at my own journey and even though my training was excellent, I think my professional journey would have looked so much different if it had been a requirement, rather than a recommendation, for me to go into therapy all those years ago.


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