The guidance given by training bodies is often vague – for example, it may say with sufficient experience you can also begin working as independent practitioners in private practice.
What is sufficient experience – and how do we get it.
Over the years I’ve worked with many therapists who are starting up in private practice. And I’ve identified 4 elements to ‘sufficient experience’ and perhaps they weren’t the obvious ones.
I believe that if you have the 4 elements in place, you can start ethically and safely in private practice.
The first element – personal therapy
I learned as much about being a counsellor through my own therapy as through my taught and client hours. OK, perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration – you get my meaning.
I think that we are ready for Private Practice when we’ve had at least 100 hours of personal therapy.
When we’re training, I’m not always sure we get the most benefit from our therapy. We are so busy, fitting in classes with placement, supervision oh probably another job and family.
It does feel sometimes like an add-on, a tick box to be got through,
Many of us came into counselling because we had experienced therapy.
I see students who have had personal therapy before their training, and as a tutor I do think it shows – in their self-awareness for example.
I think that as well as our client placements, every personal therapy session we have is a practise too. Whether in our consciousness or not, we are watching/absorbing our therapist and learning – what works well and what we could do differently.
It is also an important space for us to realise and explore our ‘blind spots’. Minimising our ‘blind-spots’ is the way we focus on our clients’ agenda and not ours. It is also where we can identify and bias in our experience or techniques.