In her Johns Hopkins Blog, Washington DC Psychologist Dr. Lynn Friedman writes, “Psychotherapists obtain personal psychotherapy or psychoanalysis”.

Increased self-awareness can lead to increased clinical skill. For example, knowing how you feel is often a prerequisite to tuning into how others feel, that, in turn, leads to the development of empathy. So how does one go about increasing ones self-awareness? There are many paths to heightening ones self-awareness. In my opinion, the hallmarks of a caring and effective psychotherapist are:

  1. voraciously reading the professional literature with an eye towards understanding the patients who we see
  2. obtaining supervision from a clinician who is oriented toward helping you to deepen your understanding of your counter-transference reactions
  3. actively consulting with colleagues, in a confidential setting, about one’s clinical work
  4. seeking one’s own psychotherapy or psychoanalysis. The latter can, in fact, alter your life trajectory.

Psychotherapists obtain personal psychotherapy or psychoanalysis

My own bias is to only refer to clinicians who have had their own intensive psychotherapy or psychoanalysis. That is because I think that it’s really important to be tuned into the thoughts and feelings that our patients engender in us.

Since I know that most of you have a mountain of debt you are probably thinking, how can I (ever) afford therapy or – especially – psychoanalysis – which is four days a week? If you are a graduate student of mine (past or present) and you are interested in a psychoanalysis that you can afford, feel free to give me a call and I will do my best to match you to a psychoanalyst who can see you at a fee that you can afford.

Of course, you may not wish to call me. In that case, I would encourage you call one of the psychoanalytic institutes here in the Greater Baltimore Washington area. Typically,  they have sliding scale clinics.

If you do not live in Washington, DC, I would encourage you to call the psychoanalytic institute in your community and inquire as to whether they offer psychoanalysis on a sliding fee scale.

Obviously, there is much more to be said about each of these. And, in fact, volumes have been written. We’ll be talking more about each of these things, in class and in the blog.

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