Life Witness : Evolution of the Psychotherapist
In Life Witness: Evolution of the Psychotherapist, T. Byram Karasu demonstrates how a young therapist can become an expert clinician by transcending his own school of therapy. Every young therapist attempts to perfect his skills by anchoring onto a single paradigm and becoming an expert technician of that particular school. Within the first five to ten years of practice—the so-called experiential evolution phase—the therapist finds that no single paradigm is suitable for treating all psychopathology. The therapist thus begins to appropriate techniques from other schools of psychotherapy, and by shifting paradigms, synchronizes himself with the patient’s mind. It is from this synchronization that all his techniques begin to evolve and an expert clinician can evolve into a master psychotherapist. The therapist who has transcended his school of psychotherapy now must transcend the field of psychotherapy itself. If he wants to address the patient’s existential issues as well, the therapist first has to come to terms with those issues himself. After all, the therapist can take the patient only so far as he himself has come.
Life Witness demonstrates that this formative evolution phase of a therapist encompasses a broad education in literature, philosophy and spirituality. Karasu ultimately concludes that therapists must find the meaning and purpose of life before they can cultivate an authentic self and become someone whose presence is itself therapeutic. Once this occurs, all ‘therapeutic messages’ will naturally emanate from within.