psychotherapy: understanding versus explaining

today, let me point you to an article i wrote at counselling resource, with the title psychotherapy clients as … humans?

here is the excerpt:

is psychotherapy about “cases” to be explained, or about individual persons who need and benefit from understanding? in this review of an article by psychotherapist janet l. etzi, we look at therapy and counselling as a complex interaction based on understanding the client as a human phenomenon, an interaction that is informed by both the client’s and the therapist’s emotions and thought processes.

etzi’s article is very interesting; it’s one of those situations where i feel it’s a shame that blog posts need to be so short; one could write a whole paper about her article. i’m looking forward to reading more material written by her.

if you find concepts such as “diagnosis” and “symptoms” interesting to think about, please come on over and join the discussion! (btw, you’ll also see that my blogging friend evan, a frequent commenter here, also writes for them).

1 comment

  1. Oh, what fun sites. When I stopped working one of the things that was being “tested” as a result is my interest in psychology…would it continue or would it fall by the way side. No, it continues.

    I like this topic. For me working as a social worker, it has always been about the individual and their unique way of communication and making their way through the world. Since they had developmental disabilities, my clients who had cerebral palsy often became frustrated with their speech. I would always tell the that it was important to me to understand what they were saying so be patient with me because I want to hear what you have to say. I would also let them know when I was frustrated with myself for having difficulty understanding because it was my job to understand. I believe that it is important to first establish that relationship and understand communication on both sides.

    Secondarily, the diagnosis. I would read them, but that gave me no idea of who they were because each person presents their symptoms in a unique way and views it in different ways. Treatment is definitely a focus in psychotherapy, but the individual comes first; otherwise, what course of treatment do you take? Not being a therapist or even having a Master’s degree, this has been my experience in working with people in general.

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