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Åstrand, K. Sandell, R. (2019). Influence of personal therapy on learning and development of psychotherapeutic skills. Psychoanal. Psychother., 33(1):34-48.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 33(1):34-48

Influence of personal therapy on learning and development of psychotherapeutic skills

Katarina Åstrand and Rolf Sandell

The aim of the present study was to investigate psychodynamic psychotherapists’ experience of the influence of personal therapy on professional growth during training with a focus on the acquisition of knowledge and the development of psychotherapeutic skills. Thematic analysis was conducted on interviews with former students (N=10) at two training institutes for psychoanalytic psychotherapy. The resulting theme “professional subjectivity” indicated that personal therapy was experienced as having a positive effect on learning and growth of professional skill by facilitating the development of a theory- and knowledge-based professional subjectivity, a personally founded, professional attitude. Important elements of this development are “shared experience,” “personal influence,” and “knowledge integration.” The emergence of professional subjectivity proved to be an important factor in terms of professional advancement for future psychotherapists. Finding and relating to their own subjectivity was crucial in the process of developing a personally founded, professional attitude in the clinical work.

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