Research findings have finally drawn our attention to something tantalizingly useful: the benefits of POTT use among therapist. Even better news, its cost effective, sharing is encouraged and it is totally legal to use in any state at any time of the day. Now before you go running off to throw away that “medicinal” prescription sheet you have been hoarding in your nightstand and cancelling that dream vacation trip to Amsterdam; there is something you should be aware of. “POTT” stands for Person-Of-The-Therapist-Training. A unique training program offered to students, POTT was “designed to facilitate clinicians’ ability to consciously and purposefully use their selves to effectively connect, assess and intervene with clients,” within the treatment process (Nino, Kissil, Cooke, 2016.)
Building on a collective of other research that highlights the importance of the “therapeutic alliance” as being a definitive factor in most treatment successes. Person-Of-The-Therapist-Training aims to foster the therapeutic relationship between client and clinician, by identifying and building on the therapist empathic strengths (i.e. via past personal experiences).
The underlining theme to this body of research seems to be that the most effective asset in therapy is the human asset. The idea that a therapist can draw from his or her past experiences, and effectively transform this energy into highly effective, empathic skills is something of a phenomenon. The concept of the “wounded healer,” has often shown up in various forms of literature, over a vast multitude of disciplines. However, Person-Of-The-Therapist-Training appears to make an effort to capture this elusive dynamic system by packaging it into neat categories, that us clinicians cannot seem to live without, testable data. Whether or not rating and evaluating past personal experiences and training students to be empathic with clients is an actual thing (perhaps you have empathy or you don’t) one thing seems certain. Psychology (and all other related human service fields) is in the business of connecting to people and building relationships. It may not matter what theoretical orientation we come from, or what therapy language we use to convey our understanding and willingness to help someone in need. And since being human is not some part time job that can readily be dismissed, and may possibly be the most effective tool you have when trying to connect with someone in pain. Why not use it. Do we really need research and training, to confirm and teach us that?
Or maybe we could have just saved a ton of time and funding, and just watched the kids movie Kung Fu Panda:
“There is no secret ingredient in the secret ingredient soup….its just you.
Niño, A., Kissil, K., & Cooke, L. (2016). Training for Connection: Students’
Perceptions of the Effects of the Person-of-the-Therapist Training on Their Therapeutic Relationships. Journal Of Marital And Family Therapy, doi:10.1111/jmft.12167