Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 89–105 | Cite as

Developing Effectiveness in the Therapeutic Use of Self

  • Jana K. Edwards
  • Jennifer M. Bess
Article

Abstract

Traditional technique guided the effective psychotherapist more toward restraint of self than active use of self. Contemporary trends in technique are moving more toward encouraging the therapist to be aware of and use his or her “real” self in the relationship with clients, in other words to loosen the rigors of anonymity and neutrality in service of genuine relating and its attendant growth-enhancing potential. The authors of this paper offer the argument that the application of what you know as a psychotherapist (that is the accumulation of knowledge and techniques from professional education and training) can only be helpful and effective if you are aware of how who you are as a person in the room with the client (that is the accumulation of your own personality traits, personal belief systems, and psychology in the relational matrix with the client) is influencing the therapy. Support for this argument from the clinical literature provides the theoretical bases for three processes outlined in the paper which will guide the effective psychotherapist in integrating the personal self with the professional and technical self: 1) inventory of self; 2) development of self-knowledge; and 3) acceptance of risks to self.

therapist's personality self-knowledge use of self intersubjectivity mutuality 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Aron, L. (1991). The patient's experience of the analyst's subjectivity. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 1:29–51.Google Scholar
  2. Aron, L. (1996). A Meeting of Minds: Mutuality in Psychoanalysis. Hillsdale, New Jersey: The Analytic Press.Google Scholar
  3. Atwood, G. E. & Stolorow, R.D. (1993). Faces In A Cloud: Intersubjectivity in Personality Theory. Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson, Inc.Google Scholar
  4. Barron, J. (1978). A prolegomenon to the personality of the psychotherapist: choices and changes. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 15(4):309–313.Google Scholar
  5. Coady, N.F. & Wolgien, C.S. (1996). Good therapists' views of how they are helpful. Clinical Social Work Journal, 24(3):311–322.Google Scholar
  6. Compton, B. & Galaway, B. (1989). Social Work Processes. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.Google Scholar
  7. Cummings, N.A. (1978). Adoption of a psychological orientation: the role of the inadvertent. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 15(4):323–328.Google Scholar
  8. Goldstein, E.G. (1994). Self-disclosure in treatment: what therapists do and don't talk about. Clinical Social Work Journal, 22(4):417–433.Google Scholar
  9. Greenburg, J. (1995). Psychoanalytic technique in the interactive matrix. The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 1995.Google Scholar
  10. Herron, W.G. (1978). The therapist's choice of a theory of personality. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 15(4):396–401.Google Scholar
  11. Hoffman, I.Z. (1983). The patient as interpreter of the analyst's experience. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 19(3):389–422.Google Scholar
  12. Hoffman, I.Z. (1991). Toward a social-constructivist view of the psychoanalytic situation. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 1:74–105.Google Scholar
  13. Hoffman, I.Z. (1994). Dialectical thinking and therapeutic action in the psychoanalytic process. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 63:187–218.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Jasnow, A. (1978). The psychotherapist—artist and/or scientist. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 15(4):318–322.Google Scholar
  15. Lazarus, A. (1978). Style not systems. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice, 15(4):359–361.Google Scholar
  16. Lindner, H. (1978). Therapists and theories: I choose me. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice, 15(4):405–408.Google Scholar
  17. Mackey, R. & Mackey, E. (1993). The value of personal psychotherapy to clinical practice. Clinical Social Work Journal, 21(1):97–110.Google Scholar
  18. Marks, M.J. (1978). Conscious/unconscious selection of the psychotherapist's theoretical orientation. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 15(4):354–358.Google Scholar
  19. Mitchell, S.A. (1988). Relational Concepts in Psychoanalysis. An Integration. Cambridge, MA/London: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Palombo, J. (1987). Spontaneous self disclosures in psychotherapy. Clinical Social Work Journal, 15(2):107–120.Google Scholar
  21. Raines, J.C. (1996). Self-disclosure in clinical social work. Clinical Social Work Journal, 24(4):357–375.Google Scholar
  22. Schafer, R. (1983). The Analytic Attitude. New York: Basic Books, Inc.Google Scholar
  23. Schwartz, B.D. (1978). The initial versus subsequent theoretical positions: does the psychotherapist's personality make a difference? Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 15(4):344–349.Google Scholar
  24. Singer, E. (1977). The fiction of analytic anonymity. In The Human Dimension in Psychoanalytic Practice, ed. K.A. Frank. New York: Grune & Stratton, pp. 181–192.Google Scholar
  25. Steiner, G.L. (1978). A survey to identify factors in therapists' selection of a therapeutic orientation. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 15(4):371–374.Google Scholar
  26. Stolorow, R.D., Brandchaft, B. & Atwood, G.E. (1987). Psychoanalytic Treatment: An Intersubjective Approach. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press.Google Scholar
  27. Strupp, H. (1978). The therapist's theoretical orientation: an overrated variable. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 15(4):314–317.Google Scholar
  28. Wachtel, P.L. (1986). On the limits of therapeutic neutrality. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 22(1):60–70.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jana K. Edwards
    • Jennifer M. Bess
      • 1
    1. 1.Englewood

    Personalised recommendations