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On Becoming a PsychotherapistThe Personal and Professional Journey$
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Robert H. Klein, Harold S. Bernard, and Victor L. Schermer

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199736393

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199736393.001.0001

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The Role of Clinical Experience in the Making of a Psychotherapist

The Role of Clinical Experience in the Making of a Psychotherapist

(p.94) 5 The Role of Clinical Experience in the Making of a Psychotherapist
On Becoming a Psychotherapist

Jerome S. Gans

Oxford University Press

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

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