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Reguis, M. (1988). A Tale of Two Chairs. Brit. J. Psychother., 4(3):282-293.

(1988). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 4(3):282-293

Prize Essay

A Tale of Two Chairs

Marie-Christine Reguis

This paper records the tribulations of a trainee psychotherapist beginning to practise her craft.

One obviously does not become a therapist in three years. I would imagine, like all professions, it takes more like ten. Bion said somewhere that one should never cease becoming a therapist - or words to that effect. So I am at the beginning of that becoming. And yet the date of seeing my first patient, in May 1986, felt very much like a kind of dividing line by which time I should be a therapist. For one thing that is whom the patient expected to meet.

So I panicked and started acting out my state of unreadiness, or rather my protest at this expectation of readiness. At the beginning of the year I had decided that I would see patients at the Arbours Clinic. The decision was not entirely wholehearted, but seemed practical enough in view of the fact that my house was not quite set up for consultation. But half-way through the term, i.e. about two months before I was due to take my first referral, I decided that I would follow my earlier inclination and set up my consulting room at home in what was then my study. On the face of it it did not present too much of a problem - the major one being that it is right across a narrow passage from the toilet which no-one therefore would be able to use while I was in consultation. There was no time to start fitting double doors or that kind of stuff, nor was there really any point, since I will not be using this room permanently but will later move to one downstairs.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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