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Becoming a Therapist: On the Path to Mastery

ISBN: 978-1-118-17817-1
320 pages
August 2012
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Praise for Becoming a Therapist

"This resource is filled with practical and personal advice, relevant stories, and examples, and reads more like help from a friend than a typical textbook."
—Roberta L. Nutt, PhD, ABPP, Visiting Professor and Training Director, Counseling Psychology Program, University of Houston

"Ah, now this is the book I wish had been available when I entered the field. Tom Skovholt has defined the initial experiences and followed the process through to the culmination of the therapeutic experience in a truly great book. Becoming a Therapist is a major contribution to our field."
—Arthur (Andy) M. Horne, Dean and Distinguished Research Professor, College of Education, The University of Georgia; President-Elect, Society of Counseling Psychology

"Becoming a Therapist's informal style is accessible and engaging and yet soundly grounded in evidence and in the wisdom Skovholt has developed through his career-long research on psychotherapists and their development."
—Rodney K. Goodyear, PhD, Professor, School of Education, University of Redlands; Emeritus Professor of Education (Counseling Psychology), University of Southern California

Essential guidance for mental health professionals navigating the start of their helping careers

Written for those entering a career in the helping professions, Becoming a Therapist: On the Path to Mastery explores the therapeutic career path for new practitioners, painting a vivid portrait of the novice therapist's journey.

This practical book guides you in using the helping relationship to improve the lives of others, whether your chosen profession is in counseling, clinical psychology, social work, school counseling, addictions counseling, family therapy, medicine, community counseling, pastoral counseling, or academic advising.

Destined to become the resource every new practitioner turns to again and again, Becoming a Therapist prepares you for the reality of what it means to be a beginning therapist, with relevant discussion of:

  • The fifteen indispensable qualities of every mental health professional
  • The unfolding practitioner self
  • Self-care for burnout prevention and resiliency development
  • The importance of culturally competent practice to practitioner expertise
  • Practice, research/theory, and personal life: the practitioner's learning triangle
  • The significance of peer relationships in the novice experience

Steeped in author Thomas Skovholt's years of experience, Becoming a Therapist thoroughly and clearly illustrates the excitement, intensity, anxiety—and, ultimately, the satisfaction—you can expect as a helping professional.

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Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

1  Opening Up Your Life to the Excitement of the Therapy and Counseling Professions 1

2  Novice Advantages 21

3  The Curse of Ambiguity and Other Ills and What to Do About Them 33

4  Who Am I Becoming? The Unfolding Practitioner Self 67

5  Developing Habits of Culturally Competent Practice 79
Michael Goh, Thomas M. Skovholt, Ava Yang, and Michael Starkey

6  Issues, Concerns, and Tips as Antidotes to Novice Stress 101

7  Becoming a Resilient Practitioner 115

8  The Cycle of Caring 149
Thomas M. Skovholt and Michelle Trotter-Mathisen

9  The Practitioner’s Learning Triangle: Practice, Research/Theory, and Personal Life 167
Thomas M. Skovholt and Michael Starkey

10  The Path Toward Mastery: Phases and Themes of Development 181
Thomas M. Skovholt and Michael H. Rønnestad

11  Practitioner Mastery and Expertise 203
Thomas M. Skovholt, Mark Vaughan, and Len Jennings

12  Vertical and Horizontal Nurturance for the Novice: Clinical Supervisors and Many Other Peers 243
Thomas M. Skovholt and Yoonhee Sung

13  Worlds Apart: The Academic Research Culture and the Therapy Practice Culture and the Search for Common Space 259

14  Epilogue: Promise and Meaning of the Work 285

Index 293

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THOMAS M. SKOVHOLT, PhD, ABPP, is a professor in the counselor training program at the University of Minnesota and a licensed psychologist. He teaches the practicum course for MA and doctoral students and the supervision practicum course for doctoral students. His research and writing is on practitioner development and includes practitioner resiliency, developmental phases, master therapists, and struggles of the beginner. He is board certified by ABPP, a Fellow of APA, and a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at the University of Minnesota. His international experiences include a Fulbright year in Turkey and teaching in Singapore.

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Praise for Becoming a Therapist

Becoming a Therapist is the perfect book to begin the journey toward becoming an effective therapist. Dr. Thomas Skovholt has created a book that is easy to read BUT very hard to put down. The perfect book for the beginning counseling student.”
—Jon Carlson, PsyD, EdD
Distinguished Professor
Governors State University

"This resource is filled with practical and personal advice, relevant stories and examples, and reads more like help from a friend than a typical textbook."
—Roberta L. Nutt, PhD, ABPP
Visiting Professor & Training Director
Counseling Psychology Program
University of Houston

"Ah, now this is the book I wish had been available when I entered the field. Tom Skovholt has defined the initial experiences and followed the process through to the culmination of the therapeutic experience in a truly great book; Becoming a Therapist is a major contribution to our field."
—Arthur (Andy) M. Horne
Dean and Distinguished Research Professor
President-Elect, Society of Counseling Psychology
College of Education
The University of Georgia

"Becoming a Therapist's informal style is accessible and engaging and yet soundly grounded in evidence and in the wisdom Skovholt has developed through his career-long research on psychotherapists and their development."
—Rodney K. Goodyear, PhD
Professor, School of Education, University of Redlands
Emeritus Professor of Education (Counseling Psychology), University of Southern California

See More
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