Training the Person of the Therapist in an Academic Setting

UNCP Author/Contributor (non-UNCP co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Dr. Frankie Denise Powell, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP )
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Abstract: Drexel University’s Couple and Family Therapy Department recently introduced a formal course on training the person of a therapist. The course is based on Aponte’s Person-of-the-Therapist Training Model that up until now has only been applied in private, nonacademic institutes with postgraduate therapists. The model attempts to put into practice a philosophy that views the full person of therapists, and their personal vulnerabilities in particular, as the central tool through which therapists do their work in the context of the client–therapist relationship. This article offers a description of how this model has been tested with a group of volunteer students, and subsequently what had to be considered to formally structure the training into the Drexel curriculum. Historically the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) has struggled with how to integrate self-of-the-therapist training into school curricula (Watson, 1993). There are at least three current challenges that require educational programs to revisit their stance on how to conduct this training in an efficacious and ethical manner. First, the impending development of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy’s clinical competencies ( will require educational programs to determine how to instruct and evaluate competency in the area of the self of the therapist. Second, training programs will grapple with how to assist therapists’ development at a personal level that is in keeping with accreditation standards and does not morph into therapy. Third, as the profession moves toward more integrative approaches, the question presents itself of how to position self-of-the-therapist training into curricula that are compatible with a yet evolving complex of therapy models. The purpose of this article is twofold: to further the conceptualization and articulation of self-of-the-therapist training in graduate programs, as well as to illustrate how one academic institution, Drexel University’s Couple and Family Therapy Department, is attempting to implement one model of training on the use of self, the Person-of-the-Therapist Training Model (POTT). We will describe the theory, the application of the model, and some administrative challenges to institutionalizing the model.

Additional Information

Journal of Marital and Family Therapy
Language: English
Date: 2009
Couple and Family Therapy, Therapists, Training Programs, Person-of-the-Therapist Training Model (POTT)

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