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Psychotherapy training: An alternative model

9 April 1984


This paper presented a new model for the training of psychotherapists. Issues related to traditional training were discussed and it was noted that prior to the advent of the professional school movement, training typically included a substantial research component while concurrently providing only a limited amount of practical experience. Professional schools have reversed this trend by increasing the focus on both didactic and experiential curricula in psychotherapy so that students not only receive more classroom instruction regarding psychotherapy but also engage in a variety of psychotherapy practica experiences prior to internship. Literature examining the trend toward emphasizing common process variables was reviewed. Formal training models were reviewed and contrasted, with strong support emerging for microcounseling and related techniques. Supervision was discussed: dimensions of. supervisory focus were identified and alternative models of 'supervision were discussed. Personal therapy was examined in terms of its effects on the therapist in training and questions were raised regarding its application and timing. A new model for training psychotherapists was proposed. The model incorporates four stages of learning. The initial stage focuses on the acquisition of basic skills, such as interviewing. The second stage, termed advanced process training, concentrates on providing the student with exposure to diverse theoretical orientations through both didactic and experiential curricula. At this stage, exposure to experienced therapists, who may serve as models, is also. suggested. The third stage, that of integration, addresses process variables common to all approaches, to psychotherapy. The final stage centers on advanced specialized training in the student's preferred theoretical orientation. Suggestions were made regarding supervision, supervisory training and personal therapy. Practical implications and directions for future research were discussed.


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