A to Z MANTRA FOR THERAPISTS
Published in “Inviting reflexivity into the therapy room how therapists think in practice?” Kuenzli, F. (2006), REVISED in 2011
I have gathered over the years of practice of psychotherapy a list of helpful guidelines that assist me in respecting an honoring clients/patients and the sacredness of our clients’ story. I wish to offer here my list of
« mantra » for therapist. They address the three concepts I have explained in the conclusion chapter and illustrate them in action: reflexivity, positioning and ethics-in-practice.
A to Z MANTRA FOR THERAPISTS
A. Honor the client’s pace, rhythm and timing.
B. Do not go faster than the client.
C. Do not assume that the client has understood or agreed check it out.
D. Avoid intentionally or unwittingly disqualifying client’s stories by premature understanding.
E. Check with the client to see if they had an opportunity to say what they wanted to say at least one time per session.
F. Use outcome-measure to control the quality of your work with clients. (Boss scale, Helping alliance questionnaire, Miller’s scale of therapeutic alliance, 2004…)
G. Check with the client to see if you have heard and not misunderstood what they have said.
H. Give to the clients a chance to correct any misunderstandings that they may have developed, and to clarify and expand on what they have told you.
I. Avoid premature assumptions.
J. Prefer lateral interactions to hierarchical ones.
K. Learn the unique sense that each client makes of his or her own illness and its circumstances.
L. Be willing to let go of early assumptions and stereotyping thoughts.
M. Be willing to challenge yourself and be challenged.
N. Maintain coherence with the language, vocabulary and metaphors of clients.
O. Use cooperative and positive language, a language that invites client into a conversation with you.
P. Remember your questions always have an intent they communicate something about you and what you think (Tomm, 1988).
Q. Remember your questions will shape the future conversations.
R. The questions you ask and the ones you do not ask influence the construction of the clients’ answer and their narratives.
S. Use a cooperative and positive language that invites clients into a conversation.
T. There are many possible versions of a patient’s illness and wellness; circumstance, context, and you, the listener, influence the telling.
U. Try to interact and respond to when the client asks for your response. If not you create resistance.
V. Actions speak sometimes louder than words, as the proverb says.
W. Invite clients to tell about their inner concerns, what it is like for them.
X. Reinvent the wheel. Each day, each second, change occurs.
Y. Look where change is already happening (rather than where you think resistance occurs).
Z. I like to think of myself (as a therapist) as a momentary guest in the life of my clients. I am not familiar with them, with their lifestyles, or their context and the history of their pain and turmoil.
All the best, Respectfully, Fabienne Kuenzli , Ph. D