Who Has Helped Shape Your Therapeutic Style?
By Erica Goodstone, Ph.D., LMHC, LMFT
A recent article in Counseling Today, an official publication of the American Counseling Association, began with the question: “Who are the major influencers on today’s counseling professionals?” I was fascinated by the variety of responses and the array of different professionals mentioned. Contemporary mentors were cited as well as influencers from much earlier times; these included both professional counselors and other thought leaders outside of counseling professions. What struck me was the realization that each of us has taken our own unique path to becoming a qualified professional. Each of us has learned different modalities and implemented the techniques in our own unique ways. Each of us has been trained and mentored by different people. And each of us has learned so much of what we know from people and situations outside of counseling or health professions.
When I think of who has influenced me, I begin with my junior high school English teacher who made me love the subject with her way of teaching through stories and drama and my college art teacher who took an assembly-ize audience into the heart and meaning of art history and artistic creation. Then there was my dissertation advisor whose training in ego psychology led me to study and write about the long-term effects of mother-infant bonding upon adult love relationships. In addition, there were all those consciousness-raising workshops I had taken in the 1970’s and 80’s and my spiritual awareness practices in yoga, meditation, and many different religious perspectives. My own body aches from sports injuries as a fledgling professor of health and physical education, led me to receive and study many different body therapy methods, eventually learning the unique combination of talk with touch. And my fascination with love, relationships and sexuality led me to undertake training with William Masters and Virginia Johnson in sex therapy. Finally, there were countless dedicated and skilled psychologists, social workers, counselors, coaches, psychiatrists and others who provided cutting edge training in the many different areas and aspects of counseling.
What influences a counselor or a healthcare practitioner to become skilled at their craft? I believe there is no shortcut, no simple formula type training. Psychotherapy and healthcare are both scientific and artistic endeavors. We need specific knowledge and training in our niche areas of specialization. We also need to do the inner work, to learn about the workings of our own mind, body and spirit. And we need to practice, work with clients, continue our education to hone our skills, and integrate the many different types of learning into a cohesive approach to working with our clients.
Who and what has influenced you and shaped the way you work with your clients?
Please take a moment to think about this and share your thoughts with us. Please feel free to email me your questions, comments, subjects you want to see covered, and topics which you, as an expert, would like to share here: DrErica@DrEricaWellness.com.
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I look forward to working together with you to strengthen our professions in the coming months.
Erica Goodstone, Ph.D., LMHC, LMFT, LPC