Psychotherapy Perspectives

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What are your Psychotherapists Values?

Often time’s people go to therapy because they are in intense emotional pain and need assistance in dealing with this. Very seldom are psychotherapists asked about their “world view” and their values, even though this will impact the therapy process. Psychotherapists are people and have biases. The way traditional therapy is set up is with an ‘expert” who has an unequal power relationship with the client. Therapists who are aware of this power relationship can hold their bias in check or continue to work on it. A good therapist will be up front with their biases and ask the client for consultation.

Psychotherapists have a world view. Do they (psychotherapists) see clients as enriching their lives? Does the psychotherapist believe their clients are experts in knowing themselves and what they need? Does the psychotherapist ask the client mid point during the session if they are going in the correct direction of the therapeutic process? Does the psychotherapist see the client as having problems that are external from the person or do they believe that the client “owns their problem”? What does the therapist believe their role in psychotherapy is? What are the psychotherapist’s views on people who are marginalized by normative society? Does the therapist actively try to correct social injustice with marginalized people---how do they respond in the therapy room?

Clients need to interview their therapists to learn more and of course to see if their views are compatible. Therapy sessions work more effectively when open mutuality exists. This allows the therapist and client to acknowledge their human vulneralabilities, make mistakes and those errors can be understood and repaired. This allows the curiosity and exploration of the therapeutic relationship to become more freely shared in a trusting manner.

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