Three Awarenesses Young Therapists Don’t Usually have

A response to a colleague’s plans to attend an organization of highly qualified and vetted therapists,American Academy of Psychotherapists, in which I was active years ago.

HI D,  Contact, support, stimulation & education w/ a network of excellent “lifestyle” therapists was especially important to me the first 25 or so years post-degree.  There were a few locally – Ken Lessler PhD, Marty Groder MD, Bob Phillips MD & Nickolas Stratas MD, but mostly I hadda’ travel to find ’em.  I’da counted Dave Hawkins MD in that lot, but at the time we were both training in Gestalt w/ Joan Fagan PhD & Irma Shepherd PhD in Atlanta.
   Like many [?most] new PhDs, I really thought I knew a lot/everything about people & doing therapy when I finished grad school — it didn’t take long in the everyday world of private practice to realize how little I knew, and how much I had to gather & learn.
The more I learned, the more I realized how much more there was to learn.  Young therapists fresh from the gauntlet of academia can’t know what they don’t know they don’t know.  Similarly, I started out as a child therapist & thought I knew just what parents should do.  When my own kids came along I rapidly learned how naive I’d been.  Back then, all the outstanding training I knew about was in adult therapy, so after 10 years of seeing mostly kids I started traveling the country absorbing good stuff from giants in our field.  Soon I was seeing mostly adults, & still do, tho I deeply enjoy the child or 2 I’m seeing.  I was also getting my own much-needed therapy from those folks at the same time.
Looking back, I’d like to’ve known and acknowledged  those 3 rather similar lacunae: every therapist’s strong need of extended personal therapy, and the differences between book learning & actually doing therapy or parenting.  I also couldn’t have imagined how much better a healer becomes as the decades of experience as a person and as a therapist accumulate.
Happy AAP! to you,  Warmly, bd

 

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3 Responses to Three Awarenesses Young Therapists Don’t Usually have

  1. Peggy Payne says:

    I like your list of local therapists.

  2. Phil says:

    Wonderful post, Bob!

    Amen #1 “I was also getting my own much-needed therapy from those folks at the same time.
    Looking back, I’d like to’ve known and acknowledged those 3 rather similar lacunae: every therapist’s strong need of extended personal therapy,”

    Amen #2: “I also couldn’t have imagined how much better a healer becomes as the decades of experience as a person and as a therapist”

    • Dr. Bob says:

      Tx P, They sure were fine therapists!! We were fortunate to’ve found ’em. There’re some good things that develop with seniority to compensate for the losses. Us older healers notice patterns way quicker & often know quickly how to help folks we’da puzzled over decades ago. Be well, b

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