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Open Access 08-06-2024 | Psychotherapy | Original Paper

Living the Language of Psychotherapy: How Therapists Use Their Experiences from Being Patients

Authors: Marit Råbu, Per-Einar Binder, Christian Moltu

Published in: Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy

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Abstract

Personal therapy is a requirement in several psychotherapy-training programs, and more than 80% of therapists have been psychotherapy patients. No quantitative evidence of the effects on their patients’ outcomes has been presented. However, qualitative studies and expert experiences highlight the value of therapists having been patients themselves. To investigate this further, we used in-depth qualitative methods to explore the experiences of eight early career psychologists. For our data collection, the participants wrote reflexive notes on two occasions, and met for a full day of focus groups. The notes and transcriptions of the focus groups were analyzed from the perspective of reflexive hermeneutic phenomenology. In all, the therapists had been patients in 19 courses of various psychotherapies. The core experiential themes were: (1) their own suffering had been for real; (2) ambivalence of sharing vulnerability; (3) the significance of experiencing theoretical concepts – the language of psychotherapy – in real life; (4) dealing with shame; (5) the need to know that therapists may become so important that the patient can easily be hurt; and (6) the therapist became an inner model that the patient could use. The therapists seemed to use their psychotherapy experiences in their personal development and professional lives. Therapists may have a unique opportunity to benefit from psychotherapy due to the language they have acquired for sharing experiences with their therapists.
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Metadata
Title
Living the Language of Psychotherapy: How Therapists Use Their Experiences from Being Patients
Authors
Marit Råbu
Per-Einar Binder
Christian Moltu
Publication date
08-06-2024
Publisher
Springer US
Published in
Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy
Print ISSN: 0022-0116
Electronic ISSN: 1573-3564
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10879-024-09634-w