The Therapist’s Real Self in the Clinical Encounter

Kisii Stone, Kenya

As psychotherapists, we must ground our technical interventions, our relationships with patients, and core theoretical constructs in our own sense of our real self–this is precisely what patients so desperately struggle with–activation of their own real self.  It is a capacity that begins in early childhood which articulates in  relationships in early and in later years of life.

Thus, while theory and technique are central pillars in successful psychotherapy, the therapist’s bringing his or her real self to the table is decisive for the promotion of change in psychotherapy.  For the therapist’s real self to connect with the patient’s real self,  empathy, attunement, and the therapist’s genuineness are required.  Inevitable  disruption and repair are central components of the process as well.  In this workshop psychotherapists will develop a firmer understanding of the role of the activation of their own real selves in promoting real self expression in patients.  This entails a clear understanding of the difference between unmodified “self-disclosure” and “real self expression” on the part of the therapist.

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