Reflective assignment

the assignment should cover the four articles and 3 surveys

“The study of psychotherapies has been favoured over the study of psychotherapists as if therapists when properly trained are more or less interchangeable. Much less attention has been given to the professional and personal characteristics and contributions of psychotherapists” (p 5, Orlinsky & Ronnestad, 2005, How Psychotherapists Develop).

Increasingly, the field is recognizing that the therapist (as a person) makes critical contributions to psychotherapy, and that therapists are not interchangeable but have unique qualities, beliefs, values, and characteristics that inevitably affect their practice of therapy and consequently, client outcomes. And some have noted that the variance due to the therapist may be greater than the variance due to specific techniques (e.g., Wampold (2001) The Great Psychotherapy Debate).  Moreover, since the natural developmental course of therapists is an evolution over time,  therapists never really ‘arrive at an approach that is ‘static but rather shift their beliefs/approach over time as they gain experience, acquire new knowledge, interact with different mentors & supervisors, and have varied life experiences (life events, experience therapy themselves, etc.).

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Thus, it is very important to become aware of your beliefs, values, and preferences re psychotherapy. Even though you may have quite limited experience with therapy at present, you nonetheless will already have beliefs about what should occur, a preferred model(s)/practices, a model of how change occurs, the role of the therapist and client, etc. You may also have certain biases, values, or other personal qualities that may help or hinder therapy. Since these may often be implicit a major goal of this exercise is make you reflect on these and increase awareness of them.

To help stimulate your thinking, you will be completing a survey and reading some articles:
(1) Survey of Attitudes and Values Related to Counseling & Psychotherapy
This survey will help you begin to reflect on the implicit and explicit beliefs you have about therapy.  The survey is meant to stimulate your thinking for the more formal “self-reflection” paper that you will submit as part of this course (note: you will also hand in the completed survey along with the paper). The paper/survey  will be kept confidential and returned to you .

(2) Several pertinent readings on how therapists change: These will be found on course moodle page.

Orlinsky, D.E. & Ronnestad, M.H. (2005). Theoretical Integration: Cycles of Work & Development. In Orlinsky & Ronnestad (Eds.), How Psychotherapists Develop:  A study of Therapeutic Work and Professional Growth (pp 161-180). Washington: APA.

Bohart, A.C. (2001). The Evolution of an Integrative Experiential Therapist. In M. R.
Jennings, L. & Skovholt, T.M. (1999). The cognitive, emotional, and relational  characteristics of master therapists. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 46(1), 3-11.

Mahoney, M.J. (2003). Being Human and a Therapist. In M.J. Mahoney, Constructive Psychotherapy (pp. 193-210). New York: Guilford.

For the Self-Reflection Paper, consider the readings and your responses to the survey, reflections about lectures and how they impacted you and then address the following questions in your paper.
You can use these questions as headings in our paper.
•    Describe your current model or preferred approach to therapy (also consider your thoughts about how people change, your role, the clients role, core processes in therapy)
•    What do you think has influenced this preference or way of thinking; What areas of experience or experiences do you need to seek out to expand or develop this model further
•    What did you learn about yourself by completing the Survey of Attitudes & Values Related to Counseling & Psychotherapy; reflect on what stood out.
Current Self-assessment
•    What do you think are your current strengths and weaknesses as a potential therapist?
Given the importance of the person of the therapist, how do you think you could best prepare (or continue to prepare) yourself to be a counselor in the future?
•    What kinds of clients do you think you would be attracted to working with or not want to work with and why? i.e. think of you biases.
Reflection paper should be double-spaced and maximum 15 pages (references if you use any and writing should use APA style, for example meaning 12 pt font).

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