BEYOND SCHOOLS OF PSYCHOTHERAPY: INTEGRITY AND MATURITY IN THERAPY AND SUPERVISION

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

The thesis of this paper is that the integrity and maturity of the therapist or supervisor are more important than theoretical allegiance to a particular school of therapy. The lack of integrity and maturity may lead to “psychonoxious” therapy or supervision, done to meet the needs of the therapist rather than for the patient's or student's welfare. Although sexist therapists who are male manifest this immaturity, the issue is broader than male sexism, for female therapists/supervisors may lack these essential qualities too. The mechanism producing this immaturity is hypothesized to be the unresolved adolescent issue of insecurity over one's appeal to the opposite sex, resulting in a need for conquest and power. In males this immaturity may be seen in such types as Teddy Bear, who develops romantic crushes on his students; Macho Mouth, whose needs for conquest are expressed in lewd comments; the Dale Carnegie Toucher, who establishes power by intrusive touching; the Fox, who slyly attempts to establish sexual dominance over women; and Super Guru, who uses his charisma to sexually seduce his female patients. In females, some types are Daisy Miller, a daughter type who behaves with innocent seductiveness to prove her attractiveness; Beauty Unaware, another daughter who refuses to recognize the power of her beauty; Big Mother, who violates her patients' autonomy in her own need for therapeutic progress; and Seductive Mother, who establishes sexual and for “maternal” dominance over her patients or students. In contrast, three male therapist /supervisors of integrity and maturity, who elicited these same qualities from three women students, are described. These supervisors' effectiveness resulted from their facing the therapeutic relationship without sexualizing it and their promoting their students' growth needs, even when this meant eliciting and dealing with student anger and renouncing their own male conquest needs. All three reveal a gentleness and sense of humility, nudging rather than forcing their students toward personal growth. No therapist, however, is above the potential for abuse of his/her emotional power. Only self-awareness can lead to the integrity and maturity essential in the therapeutic interaction.

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