How to Flourish as a Psychotherapist

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This book was totally God sent for me. I could not have found a better book for myself than this one. I just happened to see this book while browsing through the psychotherapy section at Waterstones. I didn’t even realize a book like this even existed. Today, after having read it twice, this book has a permanent place on my bedside table.

I won’t be reviewing this book but merely sharing the basic gist of the ideas the author Brett Kahr has shared in his book. This book is also purely for psychotherapists- whether you are a student, under training, newly started, or an accomplished one. The book doesn’t tell how to become a psychotherapist but rather how to sustain yourself and flourish in your career.

The book is split into four parts, and each part builds upon each other. I won’t be sharing them in detail, but just the main idea. The summary that I write is in no way a substitute for what the author has written in his book.

Part One: Building a Secure Base

a. If you are in the field of psychotherapy, make sure to have a strong passion for the work you do, which means that you may not be earning much, you may be emotionally drained out, you may be swamped with work- so you need to have enough passion to help you through.

b. Check your own sanity! You need to sort yourself out before you can sort other people out.

c. Read, read , read! Your clients will love a psychotherapist who is well-read.

d. Training as a psychotherapist is a draining experience but at the same time a joyful experience.

e. It’s very important to build a network of peers and colleagues, and most of all, seek out mentors.

Part Two: The Art of Prospering

a. We are to be students even while working as therapists- continuously seek to learn new things.

b. Referrals are very important- the best way to find new clients are through referrals, and the least effective way is through your website. Also, very important to answer the calls yourself when potential clients call.

c. Money! The client should know your charges right upfront. It’s up to you whether you want to charge a client less, but don’t make your work a charity work. Charge clients according to your expertise.

d. Avoid falling into a state of stagnation– always seek new ways towards generativity. Also, avoid becoming a narcissistic or exhibitionist psychotherapist.

e. There are several methods to avoid having burnout with clients who exhaust you. Then there are those amazing clients who make your work easy. Transference and countertransference are very important concepts to understand.

Part Three: Thriving Beyond the Counselling Room

a. Think of ways to take your expertise outside of the therapy room- become a clinical supervisor, network with other therapists, attend seminars, etc

b. Attend professional lectures and conferences to get new ideas. Think of writing a lecture yourself.

c. Research. Keep up to date with latest research methods in the field of psychotherapy.

d. Think about writing articles and books, as a way to share your knowledge and expertise.

Part Four: Surviving Success

a. Avoid Isolation. While alone time may be beneficial, be careful to not make it a life style. Seek to hang out with like minded people.

b. Avoid feeling envious of other seemingly successful psychotherapists (the book goes into details on how to navigate through envy).

c. Keep yourself fit and healthy.

d. Be aware that death is certain. You will have to retire one day, so make full use of the moments you have today.

Parting Words

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