What makes a good therapist?

Published on July 31, 2017   23 min

Other Talks in the Series: Speech Dysfluency

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Hello. I'm pleased to take part in this seminar titled, "What Makes a Good Therapist?"
We have a list of the eight perspectives that I'll be discussing.
For many years, the majority of the literature and fluency disorders focused on the characteristics of our clients, where virtually no discussion about the characteristics of the therapist. The first of the eight perspectives is about the characteristics of the therapist and Dr. Charles Van Riper was one of the first to comment about the preferred characteristics of therapists for people who stutter.
Van Riper commented that "You can't heal a person's wound if you are a dirty bandage". He suggested four primary characteristics of an effective clinician. Empathy, that is understanding without judgment. Warmth, respect or positive regard for the person we are trying to help. Genuineness and openness, an ability to disclose oneself as a person who also happens to be a therapist. And the last one, charisma, the ability to arouse hope, to be confident yet humble, frank and yet tactful.
We see that in 1977 Joseph Zinker, who was a Gestalt psychologist, suggested some additional characteristics that we'll describe. Zinker noted that effective therapist were characterized by a childlike wonderment and excitement about the therapeutic process, a patience for change without forcing, a love of play and a sense of humor, my favorite, and a positive attitude about risk taking. Zinker also suggested that effective clinicians should be willing to experiment with approaches and techniques. Most clinicians know that no single therapy is going to work for everyone. Clinicians should also be willing to push, confront, persuade, and energize the person. They should have a lifestyle that promotes a rich background and a range of life experiences. And I've added another characteristic to this list that I think is essential when working with people who stutter. The therapist should be willing to do what they ask their clients to do.