Saturday, June 01, 2013

A Place at the Proverbial Therapist Table for Everyone

I recently had an interesting experience that made me reflect on why people choose the mental health field, and how they see people in relation to themselves. In counselor training, we work to help trainees become more self-aware. The purpose is so they do not allow their own biases, personal issues, judgements, etc. to cloud their view of the client's worldview and experiences. It happens at times and is called countertransference. Countertransference is a normal process that we all experience. It can be related to, though not necessarily equal to empathy. Empathy is putting ourselves in other people's situations. Countertransference is when a therapist's personal issues are triggered. A person in the helping field can lose their objectivity and capacity to help when their own countertransference clouds their judgement. Naturally, I see it in myself from time to time. What is interesting is to observe it with students who begin to conceptualize their clients, whether real or role-played, from their own point-of-view. This can be expected when starting out. What can become concerning is when a student or individual is unable or unwilling to look at themselves and begin to modify their perspective to help themselves help others. It may be difficult for them to help people from their point-of-view. However, there are theorists such as Albert Ellis (Rational-emotive behavioral therapy), and Fritz Perls (Gestalt Therapy) who worked from this point-of-view and were very successful. I guess it boils down to therapists finding a theory that fits their world-view. Therefore, even those who are unable and unwilling to change their view, as long as their approach is effective and ethical have a place at the table. This was much more of a reflective article than educational for readers. Maybe someone will find some benefit. Dr. Jamison Law

1 comment:

robin leighmaier said...

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Mental Health Counseling