Competence and Self-care for Counsellors and PsychotherapistsPublished by Routledge
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What reviewers have said about Gerrie’s book
A lot of work has gone into this concise little book. What we read is a distillation of a huge amount of material. Above all, it is a practical manual on how to stay compassionate and robust in our dealings with others and ourselves. Jane Cooper, Counsellor and Supervisor. Therapy Today July 2014.
I am pleased to have this book as part of my personal library and would certainly recommend it to trainees and supervisees wishing to explore the vitally important area of competence and self-care.
Michelle Oldale UKCP registered psychotherapist, trainer (Sherwood Psychotherapy Training Institute, Open University)HEALTHCARE Counselling and Psychotherapy Journal
This book impressed me for many reasons. First, it was written by a Gestalt practitioner for professionals of every orientation. It shows that our conceptual framework has general relevance, and is compatible with other therapeutic orientations. Contact, person-environment relationship and theories of the self are real bridges not only to other "theories", but also to the practices of other professionals. Second, while wanting to describe the criteria for competence, Gerrie does not reduce them to a formal training, or to the achieving of minimum standards. These are only the background that supports the therapist to remain in relationship with themselves and with their clients within specific contexts, whether that means private clinical practice, voluntary organisations or business. Dr Piergiulio Poli From ‘Figuremergenti’ the online journal of the Gestalt School of Turin, February 2015.
Brief Summary of Contents
Competence is contextual: what works well in one situation may be unhelpful in another. Competence and effectiveness are different. Competence has its foundation in a person’s training, development and experience; their compliance with professional procedures and codes of ethics, and their openness to being scrutinised by supervisors and colleagues. Effectiveness is about achieving a positive result. It is possible to be competent and not be effective.
Therapy is intricate and challenging work, so it is probably inevitable that things sometimes go wrong. Ironically, recovering from ‘mistakes’ can be profoundly beneficial, if the situation is deftly handled. When a practitioner truly understands and accepts their strengths and vulnerabilities, they have a sound basis with which to evaluate their working effectiveness, both generally, and in moment-by-moment interaction with clients.
For consideration of competence the term ‘client’ can mean a person who is seeking therapy or coaching, a supervisee or student. It can also mean a colleague or subordinate, or a customer.
Competence can be explored by means of the Framework I have evolved, and which I write about in my book. The three Elements of the Competence Framework are:
In the book, I further distil these elements into eight principles, which form a basis on which practitioners can examine their own individual competence style.
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Understanding the nature of individual competence is one of the foundations of self-care. Other significant contributing factors are:
•Being grounded in the body
•Connectedness with the natural world
•Relationship with the numinous or spiritual (whatever that means for an individual)