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Sunday, March 8, 2020

Humility and self-doubt are hallmarks of a good therapist

<p><em>Photo by Kelly Sikema/Unsplash</em></p>Helene Nissen-Lie
Originally posted 5 Feb 20

Here is an excerpt:

However, therapist humility on its own is not sufficient for therapy to be effective. In our latest study, we assessed how much therapists treat themselves in a kind and forgiving manner in their personal lives (ie, report more ‘self-affiliation’) and their perceptions of themselves professionally. We anticipated that therapists’ level of personal self-affiliation would enhance the effect that professional self-doubt has on therapeutic change. Our hypothesis was supported: therapists who reported more self-doubt in their work alleviated client distress more if they also reported being kind to themselves outside of work (in contrast, therapists who scored low on self-doubt and high on self-affiliation contributed to the least change).

We interpreted this finding to imply that a benign self-critical stance in a therapist is beneficial, but that self-care and forgiveness without reflective self-criticism is not. The combination of self-affiliation and professional self-doubt seems to pave the way for an open, self-reflective attitude that allows psychotherapists to respect the complexity of their work, and, when needed, to correct the therapeutic course to help clients more effectively.

What does all this mean? At a time when people tend to think that their value is based on how confident they are and that they must ‘sell themselves’ in every situation, the finding that therapist humility is an underrated virtue and a paradoxical ingredient of expertise might be a relief.

The info is here.