The Role of Clinical Experience in the Making of a Psychotherapist

Jerome S. Gans

in On Becoming a Psychotherapist

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199736393
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894574 | DOI:
The Role of Clinical Experience in the Making of a Psychotherapist

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The making of a psychotherapist remains incomplete without clinical experience. Clinical experience offers an opportunity, viscerally, emotionally, and cognitively, to understand the process of psychotherapy. The process of psychotherapy refers to all that is involved in the interpersonal transactions between therapist and patient. This chapter describes how, through various clinical experiences, beginning therapists learn to master six functions that constitute the basis of the practice of psychotherapy. These six functions include: (1) monitoring the framework of therapy (2) evolving a realistic professional ego-ideal (3) exploring vs. acting and explaining (4) containing and metabolizing intense affect (5) modifying psychological dogma and (6) managing boundaries and dealing with difference. Clinical challenges discussed include: Missed and cancelled sessions and late and unpaid bills; working with the suicidal patient; dealing with requests for immediate therapist action; unilateral termination; erotic transference; treatment of psychotic patients; and counter-transference in handling ethical and cultural issues.

Keywords: process; therapeutic alliance; ethics; boundaries; countertransference; resistance; cultural competence

Chapter.  8917 words. 

Subjects: Clinical Psychology

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