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Linington, M. (2016). The Psychotherapist's Own Psychotherapy: Patient and Clinician Perspectives (2005), edited by Jesse D. Geller, John C. Norcross, and David E. Orlinsky, published by Oxford University Press.. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 10(2):167-171.

(2016). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 10(2):167-171

The Psychotherapist's Own Psychotherapy: Patient and Clinician Perspectives (2005), edited by Jesse D. Geller, John C. Norcross, and David E. Orlinsky, published by Oxford University Press.

Review by:
Mark Linington

Do Psychotherapists Need Psychotherapy?

Inever really needed psychotherapy. This is what I said to myself. I was merely required to enlist in psychotherapy to become a psychotherapist. I was a simulacrum of a client: intellectually interested; not relationally traumatised. From one of the research papers in this book—“Psychotherapists entering personal therapy, their primary reasons and presenting problems”—I was in the minority 10-35% that say they begin psychotherapy for training reasons. Freud (1926) more than inkled at this minority fairly early on in the history of psychoanalysis:

No one who is familiar with the nature of neurosis will be astonished to hear that even a man who is very able to carry out an analysis on other people can behave like another mortal and be capable of producing the most intense resistances as soon as he himself becomes the object of analytic investigation. (Freud, 1913c, p. 126)

Alternatively, the same piece of research tells us, the majority of psychotherapists, 50-67%, enter psychotherapy for personal reasons. Perhaps yet another piece of research might compare these reasons given by psychotherapists, with their early attachment-caregiving experiences, and follow through with an exploration of the sort of psychotherapists they then become. Is there, for example, a link between this 10-35% and experiences of some sort of dismissive caregiving and the 50-67% and preoccupied care? Do these different psychotherapists work better with different clients?

Being something of a slow learner, it took me a while, as part of my own psychotherapy, to begin to understand the lack-of-need illusion behind which I was protecting my relationships. And yet further time, to appreciate the fundamental value in understanding my own way of relating, to the sort of psychotherapist I was being and becoming. I have my therapist (at least in part) to thank for that.

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