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What shall we do with the wounded healer? The supervisor's dilemma

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Abstract:

This paper discusses the supervisor's responsibility in addressing the vulnerability or wounds of the therapist. Supervisors have much to keep in mind as they conduct their work, not least the client for whose benefit supervision is deemed to be an essential aspect of good practice. Their responsibility towards the client often entails careful exploration of the experience of the counsellor, both through their counter-transferential response to the client and their own personal circumstances. The extent to which the supervisor has a mandate to discuss the psychological well-being, personal difficulties, or organizational conflicts of their supervisee depends on both contractual agreements and the working alliance. The need to recognize counter-transference responses is generic but when they highlight the internal conflicts of the counsellor, the supervisor must decide how far they can or should pursue the unravelling of such conflicts. Therapist difficulties (Schroder & Davis, 2004) provide a framework for understanding ways in which therapeutic practice is affected by the emotional response of the therapist.

Keywords: Wounded healer; personal therapy; supervision; therapist difficulties; vicarious traumatization

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14753630701455838

Affiliations: Institute of Lifelong Learning, University of Leicester,

Publication date: 2007-08-01

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