Margarita Tartakovsky, associate editor at Psych Central, recently wrote an article on the best advice therapists have ever received. Here’s what some top therapists had to share:
Shari Manning, CEO of the Treatment Implementation Collaborative and author of Loving Someone with a Borderline Personality Disorder, had a mentor who stressed focusing on care and “staying awake” — that is, to be attentive to the subtle changes and emotions in clients. This same mentor also emphasized helping clients to achieve their unique goals, even if you as their therapist see things differently.
Robert Solley, a San Francisco clinical psychologist who specializes in couples therapy, was once told to make mistakes! It was pointed out to him that most advances in therapy (and elsewhere) result from taking risks and learning from your mistakes. What’s more, when you become less risk adverse and give yourself permission to make mistakes, you can also admit you too are human and build increased trust and rapport with clients.
Elvira Aletta, founder of Explore What’s Next, once heard a seminar speaker encourage therapists to put themselves in their clients’ shoes by using CBT techniques on themselves. The speaker asked therapists to resist extreme, self-condemning conclusions and instead dwell on reasonable thoughts: “Think about where that person was three months ago instead of just last week.”
Amy Pershing, director of the Pershing Turner Centers and clinical director for the Center for Eating Disorders in Ann Arbor, Mich., recalled advice given by one of her professors in graduate school. “The moment you think you know everything about a client,” he said, “what they need, who they are, you’re dead in the water.” That’s because, at that moment, the professor explained, you’ve stopped listening to the true expert in the room: the client.
This last piece of advice — listening to the client — is what MyOutcomes is all about.