I've been in or around the therapy industry since 1988. At the time of writing that's heading for 23 years. As I write I can't quite believe it. It seems an enormous amount of time. If it were any other profession, I might consider myself an expert. But I don't. There are two main reasons for that. The first is that there is so much to learn. Therapeutic insights come from many traditions, each with a different take on a therapist - client relationship. The second is that each new client I meet is unique. No two clients ever present in the same way. For each new therapeutic relationship I enter into there is a very real sense in which I am starting again. Learning, for another first-time, what it means for me to be a therapist with this person with these problems.
There is one thing that I have learned. Therapy is a dysfunctional profession. There are a number of reasons for this. The first is that there are numerous routes of entry into the profession with many accrediting professional bodies, and interprofessional rivalries abound. Broadly speaking the psychologists think they're better than the psychotherapists who, in turn, think they are better than the counsellors. Umm.
The second is that there are a plethora of theoretical orientations, the practitioners of which hold their own prejudices. Again broadly speaking, the psychodynamic therapists think they are the only ones who do deep, the person centred therapists think they are the only ones who respect the individual, and cognitive behavioural therapists think they are the only ones who do effective. Umm.
Given this background it is unsurprising to find that 90% of therapists think they are in the top 10% of practitioners! Therapists are socialised to believe that their method of working and route of training is superior to that of others. The truth is that anybody can become a great therapist. All you need is patience, curiosity, and compassion for the suffering of others. Training and accreditation is simply the scaffolding around which those qualities and nurtured.
This, then, is my starting position. It is the position that will inform my reflections on training in therapy. If you are a therapist in training, or interested in the training of therapists, I hope you will find my observations informative. Whether you do or not, please feel free to add your comments and experiences.
Welcome to my blog.
Dr Phil Tyson is a Men's Psychotherapist based in Manchester in the UK. He offers:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (cbt) for men in Manchester
- Counselling for men in Manchester
- Psychotherapy for men in Manchester
- Telephone and online counselling for men wherever you live
- Supervision and consultative support for therapists in Manchester
- Mediation for employment disputes in Manchester and the UK
- Group therapy weekends for men