My Journey as a Psychotherapist
“Describe your journey in becoming a counsellor. Include an examination of your own personal qualities and skills that you bring to the counselling process” 4500 words
‘Personal growth and creativity are synonymous in the life of a therapist. The very process of therapy involves the elucidation and creation of different patterns of meaning’ (Hobson 1985) Examining my personal journey towards becoming a counsellor is part of understanding my personal contribution to the therapeutic process. Through understanding my own journey I have selected theories that inform my own personal approach to counselling. In my experience this is one of the foundation processes that have enabled me to be able to practice therapy successfully. Kottler (2003) contends that therapists’ therapeutic responses are greatly influenced by the cultural, social and political context of the client. Therefore those therapeutic approaches are no longer applied in universal ways but are adapted according to the values and needs of clients from varied socioeconomic, gender, ethnic, racial, religious and sexual identities. By examining my own belief system and understanding of the world I have deepened my understanding of my own personal theory of counselling. This has involved developing a more detailed understanding of the therapeutic process, including therapist approach and client interaction. This understanding has given me a greater ability to intervene more effectively with clients whose values and life experience are in contrast to my own. Being aware of my own personal journey, and subsequently my view of counselling, has also helped me to identify my own individual strengths such as being able to develop strong client rapport and areas for improvement such as structure and client containment in couples therapy. The theoretical orientation of the therapist comprises of many influences. Johnson, Campbell and Masters (1992) found family of origin influenced therapist’s theoretical orientation and that this orientation includes the range of feelings the therapist expressed and the existence of empathy and openness to others. Kottler (2003) includes interests, self awareness, life experience, values and compassion for others as influences which have a direct impact on a therapist’s personal theory of counselling. My family life has included living as an only child and experiencing my parents’ divorce as well as experience working with young people in the field of education. Experiences both personally and professionally have shaped my personal journey and have had a direct impact on my personal approach to counselling. My beliefs, values and experience coincide more with some therapeutic approaches and not with others. As a therapist I have chosen therapeutic processes that are congruent with my own life’s experiences, personal values and beliefs. In addition to this I have chosen theories that fit with my own personal skills and temperament. My personal approach to counselling has become a synthesis of several different approaches. However, whilst I have developed this approach I have become aware that all theories work with some clients and no theory works with all clients. This awareness of the differing needs of clients through awareness of my own contribution and experience of the therapeutic process has enabled me to understand that theories of counselling offer only a partial understanding of human behaviour, thinking, growth and healing and not a total one. Therefore I have worked towards a synthesis of different counselling theories. However in order to develop this individual approach to counselling I have undergone a journey of ongoing learning with respect to exploring the different theories of counselling and working with people. My personal journey towards developing my approach to counselling is a synthesis of different influences and...