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  • Fe Robinson

Building your therapeutic identity

Providing clinical supervision for counsellors and psychotherapists is a rewarding role.  Bearing witness as colleagues grow from trainees finding their way forward to confident practitioners with a sense of their own efficacy and presence is a humbling experience.

One really important facet of good clinical supervision is helping psychotherapists expand their awareness of who they are as a therapist.  Our identity is a unique thing, we each bring different life experiences and ways of being to our work, we each have different strengths and specialisms.  

Oftentimes, we look outside ourselves for ideas of who we should be.  This is important and healthy in many instances, for example deeply knowing and embodying codes of ethics and professional standards.  However, while this is essential, it is not sufficient.

Meaningful psychotherapy enables a client to bring all of who they are into the therapy room, enabling familiarisation, befriending and where appropriate integration of different aspects of self so that clients feel whole.  The ‘how’ of this work is not straightforward, but one essential aspect of it is a deep comfort in the psychotherapist with their own presence and being in their role, such that they can enable and maintain a safe container for the process.

Who are you as a therapist?  Me, I’m a tuning fork!  Like the tuning fork used by a musician to know the pitch of a concert A, I am there to resonate freely.  I give clients the space and frequency to calibrate themselves, to come to know their own pitch, and to increase harmony and their capacity to blend with others.  I know if I am constricted I can not sound, I am open, I am grounded, I am attuned.

I’ve not come across another therapist with the same metaphor for their professional presence as yet, nor do I expect to.  I’m endlessly fascinated by each person’s sense of their own way of being, of them building their therapeutic identity.  If you’ve not yet found an  articulation of yours, do give it some time and space.  It is a helpful anchor in those moments when you risk being lost or de-railed, and let’s face it, that happens to us all!

For meaningful clinical supervision that helps you become more of the practitioner you are able to be, get in touch.

tuning fork


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