The helping profession.

20 Sep

I’ve been glued to On Being a Therapist by Jeffrey A. Kottler for the past 2 days, taking in each and every word with excitement and wonder. Since I want to be a counselor, any book or article that talks about the helping profession is music to my ears. As if I need any more reasons or drive to be a counselor, I went to a Psychology talk at my university today that was given by one of the professors in the Psychology department here, Dr. Wetter. The talk was titled, Mechanisms of Change: Why do people improve in therapy? Just as the current book I’m reading has captivated me, I was pulled in so deep to the talk today that I was actually a bit sad when it ended. Ways to measure success in therapy and many well-established therapy techniques (like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Behavior Therapy etc.) were discussed. What I found most interesting though were the reasons why people improve in therapy. That isn’t to say that all people do improve, but the talk looked at those people who did improve to try to figure out what factors went in to their improvement in therapy. The factors included common factors (such as a healing setting, expectations of improvement, a treatment ritual, and the therapeutic relationship. Not surprisingly, the therapeutic relationship is the most important), specific factors (such as cognitive restructuring, challenging negative automatic thought, behavior activation, and exposure), therapist variables (such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, amount and type of training, professional experience, and interpersonal style), and client variables (such as severity of diagnosis, co-occurring diagnoses, age, sex, race/ethnicity, expectations for change, and preoperations for change). Though it was a lot of information to take in, I was hooked from the very beginning!

I didn’t need yet another reason to be a counselor because I already have so many that I might burst from happiness. However, it is exciting that I have found something that I am passionate about. After Dr. Wetter’s talk, I made sure to go up to her and tell her how much I enjoyed her talk. Plus, I also wanted to introduce myself and see what classes she’d be teaching next semester. She’s teaching theories of personality as well as a class on trauma disorders. I told her that she could count on me to take both. Before I spoke with her, another student was asking her if there were any undergraduate research opportunities that were related to therapy. Even though there were not any undergraduate research opportunities specifically related to therapy, Dr. Wetter did say that next semester she will be continuing her research on trauma disorders and she’d be welcoming students. Not only did I attend a Psychology talk today that I absolutely loved, which furthered my drive to be a counselor, but I also may have gotten a potential undergraduate research opportunity out of it. Not too shabby. Not too shabby at all! 🙂

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5 Responses to “The helping profession.”

  1. stephenedwards425 September 20, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    Passion is when you love whatever you are doing so much that time ceases to exist…sounds like you’ve found yours.

    Be encouraged!

  2. Awen Therapy - Jay Blevins, LMFT September 20, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    Great post! It is always great to find another “therapy geek”! And Trauma work will serve you well. I can’t tell you the number of people that come in for other issues and reveal past trauma. It is challenging but important and rewarding work. Keep up the great writing!

  3. belasbrightideas September 24, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    Carl Rogers and R.D.Laing are great reads. Old, but as a psychologist myself, I love the humanists.

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