The Place of Didactic Preparation in the Therapist’s Development

Victor L. Schermer

in On Becoming a Psychotherapist

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199736393
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894574 | DOI:
The Place of Didactic Preparation in the Therapist’s Development

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The chapter holds that the psychotherapist’s education does not exist in isolation. It is fueled by inspiration, and it leads towards therapeutic activity. Psychotherapy is driven and informed by a systematic body of knowledge acquired largely in the process of training and education. This chapter considers the place of didactic education in developing the therapist’s approach and armamentarium in a time of change of the professional and socioeconomic and cultural contexts. It first considers the interpersonal and humanistic features of didactic training which serve as inspiration to the student and practitioner. Then, it iterates the foundations of such education, which include acquisition of conceptual frameworks, knowledge of therapeutic change agents, ethical and legal aspects, the use of scientific method, and how to cope with ambiguity, stress, and personal uncertainty. Therapist education typical occurs in four phases: graduate/ medical school, internship/ residency, specialized training, and continuing education. The chapter considers the practical value of each of these phases, along with the difficulties that arise. It discusses the impact on therapist education of recent changes in health care, such as managed care, as well as the computer revolution and programmed, manualized learning. It proposes a working model of therapist education that incorporates the sciences, hermeneutics, humanistic psychology, and the medical model. The importance of cultural diversity is considered, and the chapter concludes with a discussion of the impact of didactic preparation on subsequent and ongoing practice.

Keywords: psychotherapy training; therapeutic change agents; psychotherapist stress; medical education; managed care; medical model; cultural diversity

Chapter.  11295 words. 

Subjects: Clinical Psychology

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