It has been said that it takes at least 10 years to develop into a mature psychotherapist. This growth is not a linear process of simply acquiring skills and an increased efficiency in using these skills. It is a journey that often begins in pain and difficulty, whose curriculum is personal growth, and whose learning curve is analogous to the learning curve of life. It is bound up with one’s creativity and insecurities, facing painful aspects of oneself, coming to terms with hopes, vulnerabilities, and disappointments knowing the dark side of one’s personality as well as the light, and accepting the person who you are.
The foundation of one’s clinical knowledge and therapeutic skill is constituted by self-knowledge. How we see the world (our theoretical lens) and how we engage our clients (our technical skills) is influenced by who we are. The most important dimension of training is the integration of clinical experience, formal training, and theory with personal experience. In this way the therapist’s journey is a life-long process.
Effective training provides more than information; it creates safety and stimulates curiosity: it leads one off the familiar path of academic learning to grow, change, and see the world differently.
- Rainer Marie Rilke, “The Dragon Princess”
The therapist needs to understand and accept both the wounded and healing dimensions of the self in order to be available to clients on a deep level and recognize that they also have wounded and healing dimensions of the self. Inner wounds heal when the inner healer is activated.
The good enough supervisor helps the good enough therapist who helps the good enough client. This task involves teaching skills and allowing for the un-teaching of automatic, defensive ways of seeing and behaving.