Growing Up to Be a Good Psychotherapist, or Physician—Know Thyself!

John O’Leary

in On Becoming a Psychotherapist

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199736393
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894574 | DOI:
Growing Up to Be a Good Psychotherapist, or Physician—Know Thyself!

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This chapter seeks to define certain qualities important to the early development of a practitioner of psychotherapy, a calling in which no single dimension viewed in isolation can determine the fullness of preparedness and excellence. The chapter proceeds from a generally interpersonal perspective to include cross-disciplinary observations in regard to: inborn and acquired traits, the importance of conscious and unconscious motivation, psychological-mindedness, resilience and the dynamics of positive and negative experience, language affinity, communication skills, empathy and altruism. The chapter notes the wealth of narrative and personally revelatory material, as well as the paucity of controlled studies and near absence of longitudinal work on the critical topic of suitability for psychotherapeutic practice. Particular emphasis is placed on qualities that inform cross-cultural competence. This emerging issue is viewed as a major challenge given the relative homogeneity of the profession and the rapidly growing diversity of its clientele.

Keywords: career; psychotherapist; psychological-mindedness; resilience; cross-cultural competence; impossible profession; wounded healer

Chapter.  8908 words. 

Subjects: Clinical Psychology

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