Characteristics of Master Therapists

Topics: Psychology, Emotion, Ethernet Pages: 7 (2316 words) Published: July 8, 2013
Characteristics of master therapists

Agnes Payne

South African College of Applied Psychology

Practical Counselling Skills 1

25 March 2013

Table of contents

Table of contents..............................................................................................................….............6 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………….......7 Overview of the article.....................................................................................................….............8 Summary of the article…………………………………………………………………………..….8 Cognitive domain of master therapists……………………………………………………………..8 Category 1: MTs are voracious learners…………………………………............................8 Category 2: Accumulated experiences have become a major resource for MT………........8 Category 3: MT value cognitive complexity and the ambiguity of the human condition….8 Emotional Domain………………………………………………………………………………….9 Category 4: MT appear to have emotional receptivity…………………………………….9 Category 5: MTs seem to be mentally healthy and mature individuals…………..……….9 Category 6: MTs identifies how their emotional health affects the quality of their work….9 Relational Domain……………………………………………………………….............................9 Category 7: MTs have strong relational skills……………………………………………...9 Category 8: MTs are able to build strong working alliances…………………………...….10

Category 9: MTs are experts at using their relational skills….…………………….…...…10 Opinions that I found interesting…………………………………………………………….……10 What I have learned that was new…………………………………………………………….…..11 The characteristics I do possess and the ones I need to work on……………………………….....11 Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………………....12

In this assessment I will give an overview of and summarise a journal article by Jennings and Skovholt (1999) with the title; ‘The cognitive, emotional and relational characteristics of master therapists’. The aim of the research in this article was to identify specific attributes master therapists had in common. Although no set list of characteristics was identifiable the study did provide an outline of a ‘fully functioning person’. As described by Carl Rogers, such a person is one who is open to experience, able to live existentially, trusting his/her own self, expresses feelings freely, acts independently, is creative and lives a richer life (Pescitelli, 1996). A fully functioning therapist is not someone who has arrived; it is someone who strives to keep growing as a person emotionally, professionally and interpersonally. I will reflect on the points that I found interesting and what I have learned. Also I will reflect on the skills that I do possess and the ones I need to work on to further develop in becoming a great therapist.

Overview of the article
Jennings and Skovholt (1999) have done a study in order to try and define what characteristics make for a great therapist. Their study entailed interviews with ten therapists who were regarded by their colleagues and through client referrals as masters in their field. Through these interviews they were able to identify characteristics that were significantly well developed within these therapists personally and professionally.

Master therapists (MTs) are people who are more self-controlled, more compassionate towards others and had a positive outlook on life, people and therapy. They are able to assess transference and countertransference reactions well and use it constructively in therapy. Centrally, they are people who are capable of making others feel cared for and safe. They are aware of and unafraid of their own emotions and able to fearlessly assist clients in facing their pain without getting overwhelmed by it.

Those that are considered MTs seem to have an equal balance of cognitive ability, emotional maturity and excellent interpersonal skills. Below I will give a summary of the key attributes that were identified in the study.

Cognitive domain of master...

References: Jennings, L., & Skovholt, T. (1999). The cognitive, emotional, and relational characteristics of
master therapists. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 46, 3-11.
Pescitelli, D. (1996). An Analysis of Carl Rogers’ Theory of Personality. Retrieved on 17 March
2013 from: http://pandc.ca/?cat=carl_rogers&page=rogerian_theory
Gibson, K., Sandenberg, R., & Swartz, L. (2002). Counselling and coping. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.
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